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1776-1945 _ 

Lieutenant Colonel, MPC, United States Army 

Captain, Armor, United States Army 

by the 


JUNE 1955 

Washington 25, D. C, £4 June 1955 
DA Pamphlet 20-213 is published for the information and use of 
all concerned.' 

[AG 383.6 (14 Dec 54)] 

By order op the Secretary of the Army : 


General, United States Army, 
Official, : Chief of Staff. 

Major General, United States Army, 
The Adjutant General. 

Distribution : 

Active Army: 

Gen Staff, DA. (5) Armies (5) 

SS, DA (5) Corps (3) 

TecSvc,DA{5) Div (1) 

Admin & Tec SvcBd (1) " Gen & Br Svc Seh-(5) 

OONARO (25) PMST KOTC units (1) 

OS Maj Comd (10) Mil Dist (1) 

MDW (1) 

ira.-'Div (1) ; State AG (1). 

U8AR:T>iv (1) 

Unless otherwise noted, distribution applies to ConUS and overseas. 
For explanation of abbreviations used, see SR 320-50-1. 



The Office of the Chief of Military History of the Department of the 
Army is currently preparing a series of special studies dealing with 
recurrent problems that will always be of interest to the Army. The 
studies already completed include The History of Personnel Demobili- 
zation in the United States Army, The Personnel Replacement System 
in the United States Army, and The History of Military Mobilization 
in the United States Army. These studies were undertaken to imple- 
ment the Army's policy of exploiting all' historical data that may be 
of practical value. 

This study is primarily a treatment of the use of prisoner of war 
labor by the United States Army. It also provides a' comprehensive 
treatment of the employment of prisoners of war by private employers 
in the United States. The primary objective of this monograph is 
to provide in one volume a comprehensive record of the use of prisoner 
of war labor for the guidance of General Staff officers and students in 
the Army school system. It is hoped that this study will assist the 
industrial and military mobilization planners of the future to provide 
for the use of prisoner of war labor. The material will also aid those 
interested in military affairs to understand some of the basic problems 
connected with the employment of prisoners of war. 

Since this document includes only problems through World War II, 
it is merely background for the events which have followed that con- 
flict. , An additional monograph concerned with the employment and 
treatment of prisoners of war during the recent Korean action is being 
prepared overseas. 



Man power has been at a premium in nearly every major war in 
which the United States has participated. In the event of a future 
conflict against a foe who may be numerically superior, every avail- 
able source of manpower may have to be used. This will include cap- 
tured enemy personnel. The successful prosecution of the war may 
depend upon the utilization of these prisoners of war. 

Up to this time no record of the use of prisoners of war in past wars 
of the United States has been available. This study will fill the void 
and provide staff officers, students at Army schools, and other interested 
persons with detailed information on the Army's use of prisoners of 
war in the past. It offers no specific formula to be followed in utiliz- 
ing prisoners of war but it does provide information that may be use- 
ful to those who may be responsible for their utilization in the future. 
The footnotes will be of help to those interested in making a more 
complete study of certain aspects of the subject. 

The study is divided in,to three parts. Part One, "The Early Wars," 
contains three chapters covering the period from the Revolutionary 
War through the Civil War. Part Two, "The. Beginnings of Global 
Warfare," contains three chapters covering the period from the 
Spanish- American War to the beginning of World War II. Part 
Three, "World War II," contains the bulk of the study. The plan- 
ning, policies, interested agencies, and actual employment both in the 
continental United States and in oversea theaters are presented in 

Since the authors have been allowed complete freedom in research 
and in the development of ideas, it must be emphasized that the 
opinions expressed and the conclusions reached are their own and not 
necessarily those of the Department of the Army or of the Office of 
the Chief of Military History. 

Lt. Col. George G. Lewis, who initiated the project, wrote drafts of 
chapters 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 before being transferred to another assign- 
ment. He was assisted for a time by 1st Lt. Martin J. Miller who wrote 
portions of chapter 10. 1st Lt. John H. Beeier wrote the original draft 
of chapter 3. Capt. John Mewha researched and wrote chapters 7 to , 
d, portions of chapter 10, and chapters 11 to 17. After Colonel Lewis' 
reassignment, Captain Mewha extensively revised and rewrote parts 
One and Two. 




Appreciation is expressed to all who participated in the preparation 
of this study and to The Provost Marshal General and The Provost 
Marshal General's School for their comments and criticisms on' the 




Chapter i. The Revolutionary War 1 

Treatment of Prisoners of War . 1, 

The First Experiences of Prisoner Utilization 1 

Exchange ■ — 3 

The Commissary General of Prisoners 7 

The Convention Army 9 

Retaliation 13 

Recruitment of Enemy Prisoners of War Into the 

Military Service . 14 

Employment of Prisoners of War 15 

The First Large-Scale Employment of PW's 16 

The Surrender of Comwallisl 18 

The Cessation of Hostilities and the Peace Treaties__l 19 

2. Prisoners of War as Instruments of Retaliation and Parole 22 

The War of 1812 22 

Retaliation 22 

Exchange 23 

The Washington Cartel 23 

The War With Mexico 25 

3. The Lack of Utilization of Prisoners of War During the Civil War 27 

The Commissary General of Prisoners — 28 

FoTmal Exchange: The Dix-Hill Cartel 29 

The Military Recruitment of Prisoners of War 31 

Union Forces 31. 

Confederate Forces 36 

PW's as Instruments of Retaliation 36 

Prisoner of War Labor 38 

The Federal Government 38 

The Confederacy 39 

The Cessation of Hostilities 40 


Chapter 4. The Spanish-American War 43 

The First Prewar PW Planning 43 

The Philippine Insurrection 46 

5. Prisoner of War Employment During World War I 47 

Pre- World War I Planning 47 

The Hague Conventions 47 

Early U. S. Regulations ■ 48 

Army- Navy PW Agreement, 1916 49 

Regulations Governing the Custody of Prisoners of 

War, 1917.-/ - 50 




Chapter 5. Prisoner of War, Employment During World War I — Continued Pa s e 

The Internment Problem 51 

Planning for PW Employment in the United States „ 54 

The Pay Problem 55 

"Regulations for the Employment of Prisoners of War, 

1918"-__- 56 

PW Labor in the United States 57 

Establishment of Responsibility for PW's in AEF ■ 58 

Organization and Treatment of PW's in France 2 5^ 

Evacuation Procedures.- 60 

General Treatment of Prisoners of War 60 

PW Employment Policy in the AEF ,61 

PW Labor Companies.-- 61, 

Disciplinary Problems 1 62 

Payment for Labor 63 

The Armistice 63 

6. Planning Between the World Wars 66 

The Geneva Conventions of 1929 66 

Early Planning, 191.9M938- 67 

Publication of the MP Manual 69 

The Emergency Planning Period, 1939-1940 70 

Appointment of the Provost Marshal General 70 

Establishment of the Military Police Corps 71 

The Alien Program , 71 

The War Department-Department of Justice Agree- 
ment 72 

Internment Camps. _ r - 73 


Chapter 7. Early Policies . 75 

U. S. Application of International Law in World War II. _ 75 

Adherence to the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention 76 

Exchange -- 76 

Employment 77 

Labor Pay J 77 

The 1942 Manual 78 

The 1942 Army Reorganization.-, 79 

The Alien Internment Program 82 

The Proposed Transfer of British Prisoners 83 

Prisoner of War Planning 84 

The Construction Program 84 

Guard Personnel 86 

Employment Provisions 86 

The Prisoners Arrive 90 

8. The Italian Service Units 93 

The Limited Parole System ' 93 

The Italian Service Unit Program 93 

Organization 1 94 

. . Units Organized 97 

Screening and Security 97 

Pay 98 

Training _ . 98 



Chapter 8. The Italian Service Units — Continued 

The Italian Service Unit Program- — Continued Pw 

Later Restrictions 99 

Results of the Program 100 

9. Contract Labor: The Development of the War Department- War 
Manpower Commission Agreement, August 1943, and Im- 
plementing Directives 101 

Tlie Employment Situation, Spring 1943 102 

The Issue of Contract Pay in Agricultural Work . 103 

The War Department- War Manpower Commission Agree- 
ment 106 

The August Directives 108 

Policy Clarification 112 

The Prisoner of War Employment Reviewing Board 113 

10. Application of the Contract Policy 115 

Security vs. Full Employment 115 

The Inspector General's Report 116 

The Dallas Conference 117 

Results of the Conference ■ 118 

The Works Project Branch 120 

Expansion of the Contract Policy 120 

The Incentive Pay and Task Systems,, 120 

Decentralization of Control and Contract Simplifica- 
tion 122 

The Opposition of Organized. Labor ±.~ 123 

The Rise in Prisoner Employment 125 

Agriculture -- 126 

Crops Worked by Prisoners of War 127 

Work Problems 128 

Training 128 

Work Procedures 129 

Other Proble ms 131 

Logging and Lumbering. _ : 132 

Food Processing 135 

Meatpacking 136 

Fertilizer Plants i 139 

Mining and Quarrying 139 

Foundry Work 140 

Railroads , 140 

11 . Governmental Employment of Prisoners of War 144 

Military Installations 144 

Requisition and Allocation of Prisoners., 144 

German and Noncooperative Italian Prisoners of 

War 148 

Russian Prisoners of War 148 

Japanese Prisoners of War 148 

The "Administrative Pressure" Policy 150 

Prisoner of War Training 152 

Supervision - 152 

Segregation 153 

Work Procedures ' — 1 156 

Compensation for Injuries 156 



Chapter 11. Governmental Employment of Prisoners of Wai — Continued 

Military Installations — Continued Pw 
Use of Prisoner of War Officers and Noncommissioned 

Officers -■ --- 156 

Types of Paid and Unpaid Work 157 

Protected Personnel 159 

Canteen Work . 160 

Educational and Recreational Work 160 

Prisoner of War Postal Units 161 

The Farm Program on Military Installations 161 

The Interservice Use of Prisoners of War 163 

Army Air Forces 163 

Navy . 163 

The Technical Services 164 

The Effectiveness of Prisoner of War Labor at Military 

Installations 164 

Other Federal Agencies 165 

12. The Closing Phases of the Program in the United States 171 

Repatriation as it Affected Prisoner of War Employment.. 172 

13. The Mediterranean Theater 175 

Early "Use of PW Labor in North Africa 176 

The Invasion of Sicily 178 

The Italian Surrender 178 

The Italian Service Unit Program in North Africa. 179 

The Badoglio Proclamations 180 

Establishment of Service Units 182 

Early ISU Employment Plans 183 

Supervision and' Use of Italian Service Units 185 

Training 185 

Pay . 185 

Discipline 186 

Accomplishments of ISU's 186 

NATOUSA Manpower Board 187 

Italian PW Labor on the Italian Mainland 187 

Italian Army Service Units (ITI) 189 

Release of Individual Prisoners of War to Italian Govern- 
ment 189 

The Release of Italian Service Units 189 

Employment Policies in Regard to German and Pro- 
Fascist Prisoners of War 190 

Establishment of MTOUSA PW Command. ■ 192 

Repatriation Problems 192 

Equipment of German Service Units 193 

Command Responsibility < 193 

Civilian vs. PW Labor 194 

Guards 194 

Paroles . 194 

Recalcitrant Prisoners of War 195 

' Pay 195 

Rehabilitation Work 195 

Labor Troubles 196 

Labor Performed 197 



Chapter 13. The Mediterranean Theater — Continued 

Establishment of MTOUSA PW Command — Continued Page 

Discontinuation of MTOUSA PW Command 197 

Other Nationals 198 

Summary 198 

14. The Middle East 201 

"Use of Prisoner of War Labor 201 

Establishment of the Africa-Middle East Theater 204 

Summary 204 

15. The European Theater 206 

The Planning Period 206 

Prisoner of War Planning for OVERLORD 206 

Organization 206 

Employment Policies 209 

Use of Prisoners of War in the United Kingdom„ T .__ 210 

Italian Service Units in the United Kingdom ^_ 211 

The Invasion of France 213 

Beachhead Employment of Prisoners of War 213 

Paramilitary Organizations 214 

Labor Policies on the Continent During the Lodgment 

Period (6 June-25 July) 215 

The Breakout and Pursuit Period 217 

Headquarters, Communications Zone, Arrives on the 

Continent . 219 

Labor Performed by PW's During the Breakout and 

Pursuit 219 

Forward Movement of ADSEC ^ 222 

Employment of Italian and Russian PW's 223 

The Military Labor Service and PW Employment 225 

The Supervisory Headquarters 226 

Headquarters, Labor Supervision Area 226 

Headquarters, Labor Supervision Center 228 

Headquarters, Labor Supervision Company 228 

Headquarters, Labor Supervision Platoon (Sepa- 
rate) 228 

German Prisoners of War Labor Companies , 230 

Equipment ^ 231 

Security of German PW Units 1 231 

Training ~ 232 

Discipline 232 

Types of Organization z. 233 

Tasks Performed 234 

Use of Italian Service Units in Forward Areas and in Ger- 
many — 235 

Use of German Prisoners in Germany 235 

German Service Units 237 

Pay ■- 237 

Work Performed 238 

Allied Nationals ' 239 

PW Transfers to Other Governments for Labor 240 

Repatriation and Discharge 241 

Evaluation of Prisoner of War Labor 244 

Summary 246 




Chapter 16. The Pacific Area and the China-Burma-Endia Theater 247 

The Pacifie Ocean Areas Theater 248 

The Southwest Pacifie Theater 251 

The Japanese Surrender 252 

Classification of the Prisoners 253 

The Labor Directive : 253 

Labor Policies -_ 255 

Types of Labor Performed 257 

Repatriation ,. 258 

China-Burma-India Theater . 260 

Summary ' 260 

17. Summary and Conclusions 262 

Glossary of Abbreviations 266 


Appendix Service Units Utilizing Indigenous and PW Labor in the 

Mediterranean Theater — November 1945 273 



1. Types of Labor Performed ' 64 

2. Prisoner of War Daily Wage Rates Overseas ._ _ 65 

3. Office of The Provost Marshal General, April 1944 81 

4. Distribution of Base and Branch Prisoner of War Camps as of 

1 August 1943 HI 

5. Distribution of Base and Branch Prisoner of War Camps as of 

Uunel944___ 112 

6. Organizational Chart of Prisoner- of War Division, Office of The 

Provost Marshal General, June 1944 1 121 

7. Crops Harvested by Prisoners of War 127 

8. Typical Functional Chart, Base Prisoner of War Camp 149 

9. Disciplinary and Control Measures Applicable to Prisoners of War 154 

10. Services Performed by Prisoners of War at Technical Service Depots - 166 

11. Prisoner of War Responsibility, January 1944 207 

12. ETOUSA Military Labor Service, Proposed Organization Within 

Communications Zone 227 

13. Command Structure of Military Labor Units Within Theater Major 

Commands 229 


1. Completed, Under Construction, and Authorized Internment Camps 

in Zone of Interior, 15 September 1942 _ 84 

2. Monthly Census of Prisoners of War Interned in Continental United 

States 90 

3. Deployment of Italian Service Units: 30 June 1944 and 30 June 1945, 96 

4. Development of Military Labor Service Units and Overhead Units, 

ETOUSA, February-May 1945 231 


I. Outline Map Showing Theaters of Operations 174 



i Page 

1. Encampment of the Convention Army 11 

2. U. S. General Depot for Prisoners of War at Point Lookout, Md. 33 

3. Nazi Prisoners of War Arriving in New York. 125 

4. Prisoners of War Employed at a Paper Mill in Texas 132 

5. Prisoners of War Engaged in Farm Work at Fort McClellan, Ala 162 

. 6. German Prisoner of War Camp at Mateur, North Africa...,. 176 

7. Members of ISU's at Work in Franco 224 

8. Guadalcanal Prisoners Working in Their Garden 251 

9. Japanese Prisoners in the Philippines 259 

Credit.— Photographs are from the files of the Department of Defense. 

Chapter 1 
The Revolutionary War 

The United States Government, even in its infancy, accepted the 
customs of nations and sought to apply the concepts of international 
law to its prisoners of war. From the Revolutionary War through 
World War II, the American Army has used the services of captive 
enemy soldiers. In the earlier wars, the emphasis was. on exchange, 
ransom, voluntary enlistments, parole, and, in some instances, retalia- 
tion, all methods by which prisoners of war can be utilized, rather 
than the later concept of the use of prisoners of war as a labor force. 

Treatment of Prisoners of War 1 

On 19 April 1775 the Massachusetts Militia engaged the British 
in battle at Lexington. 2 This was the opening action of the American 
Revolutionary War, and with this battle began the experience of 
American armed forces with the administration and utilization of 
prisoners of war. The Continental Congress declared on 2 January 
1776 that the status of its prisoners of war was "a restraint of honor 
only." 3 Accordingly, it sought to apply humanitarian concepts in 
its treatment of the prisoners. But at the same time, the British 
practice varied between the observance of the laws of warfare and 
the less generous procedures customary in subduing domestic disturb- 
ances. The British preferred the latter description in characterizing 
the American resort to arms.* Because of the continued mistreat- 

1 For an excellent detailed account of the treatment of prisoners of war during the Revolu- 
tionary War, see Gerald 0. Haffner, "Tile Treatment of Prisoners of War by the Americans 
During the War of Independence" (PhD thesis, University of Indiana, 1952). MS In 
University of Indiana library. 

a For an account of this and subsequent mobilizations, see: Lt Col M. A. Kreidberg 
and Lt M. tt. Henry, "History of Military Mobilization in the United States Army" 
(Special Studies Series, OCMH), 1954. 

3 William F. Flory, Prisoners of War { Washington, 1942), p. 40. 

1 Worthington C. E'ord and Others (eds.), Journals of the Continental Congress 
177b-nS9 (hereafter referred to as Journals of Congress) (Washington, 1904-37), IV, 
p. 22; Flory, op. eit., p. 17; Jared Sparks (ed.), The Writings of George Washington 
(Boston, 1834), V, p. 183. 




ment of American prisoners by the English, the American armies took 
steps to accord similar treatment to British captives. On 11 August 
1775, General Washington wrote to Lt. Gen. Thomas Gage: "My 
duty now makes it necessary to apprize you, that for the future I shall 
regulate my Conduct toward those Gentlemen, who are or may be in 
our Possession, exactly by the Rule you shall observe towards those 
of ours, now in your Custody." 3 

As a rule American commanders temporarily secured their prisoners 
of war (PW's) within the facilities of the local provost guard until 
tiiey could be accommodated elsewhere. When a permanent intern- 
ment site was selected, the local, provost guard, composed of detach- 
ments of men of the line, escorted the prisoners to the new camp. Fre- 
quently, the prisoners were quartered in county jails pending their 
transfer to centralized prisoner of war barracks or encampments lo- 
cated in areas considered secure to the Continental forces. At these 
camps, the guard was provided for the most part by the local Militia. 
This resulted in a lack of uniformity in controlling the prisoners, and 
numerous escapes were reported.* 5 

The enemy troops captured by the Americans were usually segregated 
according to nationality, that is, the British from the Hessians; and 
different treatment was accorded the two nationalities. The Hessians 
had a different attitude toward their confinement than did the British, 
and the Americans feared the greater inclination on the part of the 
British to escape. 7 Officer PW's were customarily permitted the lib- 
erty of parole within a designated area. At their own expense they 
found quarters for themselves in private homes or inns while they 
awaited exchange. 8 Enlisted PW's were occasionally billeted in pri- 
vate dwellings, but more frequently they were confined iri barracks 
surrounded by barricades. 9 However, to retaliate against British ac- 
tions and to obtain British conformity to the standards of interna- 
tional laws of warfare in the treatment of American prisoners, U. S. 
commanders often ordered close confinement for the enemy prisoners 
in their possession. They also threatened future reprisals against Brit- 

5 John C. FltKpatrlek (ed. ), The Writings of George Washington, From, the Original 
Manuscript Sources, 17J/S-17S9 (Washington, 1031-44), III, p. 417. See also : Ibid., 
IV, p. 171. and VIII, pp. 216-22. 

8 Volumes XXI, pp. 33-35, XXXIII, pp. 10, 62, 189; XXXIV, p. 149; LVII, p. 101'; 
LXVII, p. 112; LXIX, pp. 83, 97, 100; LC1II, pp. 80, 05, 97, 98, 169; CLIV, pp. 0, 45-50. 
Revolutionary War Records. National Archives ; Journals of Congress, V, p. 531. 

iJmtrna\s of Congress, XIX, p. 229, and XXI, pp. 1132-33; Max von Eelklng (od.), 
Memoirs and Letters and Journals of Major General Riedesel, trans, by Wm, L. Stone 
(Albany, 1868), II, pp. 6-0. 

8 Journals of Congress, IV, pp. 06, 107, 176, 371. For an example ol an officer's parole 
form, see : Ibid., p. 371. 

" These were erected at the direction of the Continental Congress to prevent the civilian 
populace from having any intercourse with the prisoners of war. See ; Ibid./ V, p. S31 ; 
VII, p. 191 ; and IX, p. 773, 



ish prisoners if considerate treatment was not accorded to American 
PW's. 10 

General Washington and other American commanders gave con- 
sideration to the complaints of the prisoners and ordered military in- 
vestigations if the complaints were about the treatment received." 
The American Army also cooperated in the receipt of British aid to 
their men held custody by the Continental forces. (It had long been 
the practice for a nation to furnish supplies to its troops made cap- 
tive by an enemy.) When Great Britain failed to send supplies to 
maintain her men in American hands, the attitude of Congress 
wavered between providing them two-thirds of the amount given to 
active American troops, or the measure supplied to American pris- 
oners by the British. In 1782, Congress directed the Quartermaster 
General's Department to issue the prisoners of war the following 
articles of the soldier's ration : bread, beef or pork, soap, salt, and 
vinegar. 32 

The First Experiences of Prisoner Utilization 

The prisoners taken by the American forces at Concord and Lex- 
ington were placed in the custody of the Committee of Safety, and 
steps were immediately taken by the Massachusetts Provincial Con- 
gress to exchange them for Americans in British custody. On 28 
April 1775, the Congress ordered certain captured British officers to 
be sent to Providence, K. I., to be used in negotiating the exchange 
of several prominent Americans interned on a British warship at 
Newport. Apparently these negotiations were unsuccessful ; but on 
16 June 1775 an exchange was concluded at Charlestown, Mass., 
between Pres. James Warren of the Massachusetts Provincial Con- 
gress, who with Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam represented the Americans, 
and Maj. James Moncrief, representing the British. 13 This was the 
earliest attempt at American prisoner of war exchange, the form of 
PW utilization most prevalent in the Revolution. 

By the- summer 1776, both the Continental Army and the British 
held numerous prisoners of war. To secure their return, in J uly 1776 

^ Sparks, op. ait., pp. 165-73; Klory, op. cit., pp. 43, 4C> ; W. P. Palmer (ed), Calendar 
of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts, 1652-1781, Preserved in the* Capitol at 
Richmond (Richmond, 1875), I, p. 417; Walter Clark (ed. and comp.), The State Records 
of North Carolina (Raleigh, 1890- ), XVII, pp. 829, 834, 925-26; William Hand Browne 
(ed,) "Journal and Correspondence oi' the Council of Safety, August 29, 1775-March 20, 
1777," Archives of Maryland (Baltimore, 1897), XVI, p. 490. 

11 Order Book, XVII, p. 176. Revolutionary War Records, National Archives; Jour- 
nals of Congress, V, pp. 896, 732. 

12 Order Book, XIX, p. SO. Revolutionary War Records. National Archives. 

13 Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings (Cambridge, Mass., 1792-1927), ser. 1, 
vol. V, p. 327. 

338293—55 2 



Congress authorized the local commanders in each department to 
negotiate for the direct exchange of the prisoners on the following 
basis : "One Continental officer for one of enemy of equal rank, either 
in land or sea services; soldier for soldier; sailor for sailor, and one 
citizen for another citizen." 14 On 20 July 1776, Gen. Sir William 
Howe, British commander in chief, advised General Washington 
that he had authority to negotiate for an exchange of prisoners of 
war. Ten days later, General Washington told General Howe that 
Congress wished to arrange a general exchange, rank for rank, sol- 
dier for soldier, sailor for sailor, and citizen for citizen. Howe agreed 
to this but with certain exceptions : he had no authority over seamen, 
and he would not exchange deserters. This was acceptable to Con- 
gress, and the exchange was made. 

General Washington and General Howe concluded a number of local 
exchanges during the next two years, General Washington's practice 
being to request the return of Americans who had been longest in 
captivity. Eastern and southern officers were returned in equal pro- 
portions except when General Washington requested particular per- 
sons. 15 Local exchanges continued throughout 1777 ; for instance, 123 
prisoners of war were exchanged in Ehode Island on 11 February 
1777. 10 . 

In early 1778, Congress and General Washington sought to con- 
summate a general exchange with the British Government that would 
last for the duration of the war. American and British commissioners 
met at Germantown, Pa,, on 31 March 1778 and again at Newtown, Pa., 
on 6 April 1778, but they could not reach an agreement. The Ameri- 
can, commissioners were bound by certain congressional resolutions 
which demanded that (1) the enemy settle the expenses of prisoners 
of war not with the inflationary Continental currency but with actual 
coin on a par value with the paper issue; (2) all Loyalists be returned 
to the states so they could be punished as traitors; (3) Maj. Gen. 
Charles Lee be exchanged for Maj. Gen. Richard Prescott (this was 
his second imprisonment) ; and (4) all supplies issued to enemy pris- 
oners be replaced in like quantity. On the other hand, General Howe's 
authority had been limited to personal powers based on his military 
commission and command, whereas the American commissioners rep- 
resented powers, delegated to General Washington by Congress, to 
bind the Nation. The British commander apparently had been specifi- 
cally instructed by his government not to negotiate on a national basis, 

« Peter Force (comp.), American Archives (Washington, 1837-53), ser. 5, vol. I, 
p. 1587. 

is Sparks, op. cit., V, pp. 24, 173, 175, 2 JO, 254; Flbspatrick, op. cit., V, pp. 356-57, 
and VII, p. 10. 

18 Haffner, op. cit.! pp. 297-98; John H. Bartlett (ed.), Records of the State of Rhode 
Island and Providence Plantations in, New England (Providence, 1856-65), VIII, pp. 16, 
50-51; Chilis. J. Hoadly (ed,), The Public Records of tlie State of Connecticut (Hartford, 
1894-1922), I, p. 100. 



as the British wanted no implication of acknowledgment inconsistent 
with their claim that the conflict was but a domestic disturbance. As 
a result, negotiations failed. 17 ; 

By May 1778, Congress was willing to permit an exchange of all 
officers and enlisted men. This was to be an equal exchange of all 
soldiers and officers, but the legislative body would not permit an 
exchange of privates for officers; however, it was willing to accede 
to an exchange of Burgoyne's officers. 18 This action by Congress was 
the result of a proposal by General Howe after the failure of the 
Germantown and Newtown negotiations. With both sides willing to 
concede certain points, an exchange was made from May to July 1778. 
It was simply an agreement between two contracting parties and not 
between nations. 

Meanwhile, British seamen captured by American naval forces were 
released on parole either at sea or in France. In June 1778, the Ameri- 
can commissioners in France reached a temporary agreement whereby 
British prisoners would be released to Lord Howe in America, and 
American prisoners interned in England would be exchanged in 
France. 19 Benjamin Franklin, one of the American commissioners, 
feared the British would pick out " . . . the worse and weakest of our 
people to give in exchange for your good ones." Therefore he insisted 
that those longest in confinement be exchanged first. 20 

At this time France was a neutral nation and refused to intern 
British prisoners captured at sea by U. S. forces. But in August 1778, 
after it declared war on Great Britain, France issued orders that the 
". . . prisoners shall be conducted, guarded, and maintained in the 
name and at the expense of the United States." 21 These were used in 
local exchanges, both in France and in Holland; the first exchange 
took place in France in May 1779. 22 

In the United States, a second attempt was made in 1779 and 1780 
to arrange a general cartel with Sir Henry Clinton, then British 
commander in chief, but again the British commissioners were not 
permitted to admit any expression which tended to acknowledge the 
independence of the American states. For this — and other reasons — 
the negotiations failed. The other reasons were : first, and most im- 
portant, difficulties were encountered over the adjustment and settle- 
ment of accounts of maintaining the prisoners of war. Second, the 
British at this time held very few American privates as prisoners ; this 
would have necessitated the Continental Army exchanging a relatively 

« HFiffner, up. cit., pp. 299-301 ; Sparks, op. cit., V, pp. 235, 261n., 31Gn., 272n. ; 
Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings, ser. 1, vol. V, pp. 339-41, 
18 Journals of Congress, XI, pp. 520-21. 
« Haffner, op. cit., pp. 301-02. 

™ Francis Wharton (ed.), The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United 
States (Washington, 1889), II, pp. 581, 614-15. 

21 Art. XV, "Regulations for Frizes and Prisoners," in ibid., p. 687. 

22 Ibid., Ill, pp. 487, 522-23 ; Haffner, op. cit., pp. 452-53.. 


History of prisoner of war utilization 

high proportion of British privates for American officers in British 
custody. 23 

Limited exchanges continued as before, and toward the end of 1779 
a rather extensive exchange took place in the South. The Continental 
Army held approximately 375 enemy prisoners throughout the Caro- 
linas and Georgia, and these were exchanged for 269 Americans — -the 
remaining 106 were to be delivered on the next exchange. A few 
officers were exchanged at the ratio of 1 officer for 10 privates. The 
exchange was so complete that Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln wrote, 
"We have none [prisoners] now with the Enemy saving a few 

officers." 24 

During December 1779, the following tariff for the exchange of 
prisoners of war was arranged in New Y ork : 

sergeant 2 privates 

ensign . 4 " 

lieutenant (i " 

captain 16 " 

major 28 

lieutenant colonel 72 " 

- ■colonel : 100 

brigadier general 200 

major general 372 

lieutenant general . 1, 044 " 

adjutant and quarter master 6 " 

surgeon 6 " 

surgeon's mate 4 " 

surgeon of hospitals 16 

deputies and assistants— ' 6 " 2 " 

All others of the staff according to the rank they held in the line. Another 
arrangement was concluded ... by which the money price of ransom was 
agreed to, as well as their relative importance, privates being one. Accord- 
ing to that, a commander-in-chief was rated . . . (about eight thousand 
dollars), and equal to five thousand men. A major general was rated . . . 
(about four hundred dollars), and equal to three hundred and seventy-five 
men. Other officers in proportion. 2 " 

Overseas in France, the American commissioners and British 
officials signed a "Cartel for a General Exchange of Prisoners" at 
Versailles on 12 March 1780. This cartel contained the following pro- 
vision that applied to prisoners at war interned in England and in 
France : "The prisoners shall be exchanged man for man, according to 
their rank and qualities, or for a certain number of men as equivalent, 

21 Sparks, op. cit. f VI, pp. 508-00, and VII, pp. 1-2, 811. ; Maamohusetts Historical 
Society Proceedings, ser. 1, vol. V, pp. 340-41 ; Documents Relating to the Revolutionary 
History of the State of New Jersey (Trenton, 1901-17), ser. 2, vol. Ill, pp. 244, 291; 
Calendar of Virginia State Papers, I, p. 318. 

The State Records of North Carolina, XIV, pp. 357-58 ; Haffner, op. cit., pp. 302-03. 

25 William Thomas Roberts Saffcll, Records of the Revolutionary War (Philadelphia, 
1860), pp. 201-05. 

20 Benson J. Logging, The Pictorial Vield-Book of the Revolution (New York, 1851), 
II. p. 640. , 



or for certain sums of money in form of ransoms." 27 But by this time, 
the attitude in the United States in respect to a general exchange was 
undergoing a change. In July 1780, General Washington advised 

. . exchanges of prisoners, though urged by humanity, is not politic. 
It would give force to the British, and add but little to our own. Few 
of the American prisoners belong to the Army and the enlistment of 
those who do, is nearly expired." 28 It is apparent that the military 
at this time did not favor such an exchange. 

Again, in late 1782, England proposed to . , exchange seamen 
for soldiers, they having no soldiers in their [England] hands ; that 
the soldiers so exchanged should not serve for one year against the 
United States; that the sailors might go into immediate service; that 
the balance of the soldiers in our [Congress] hands should be given 
up at a stipulated price." 23 Congress rejected this as being unequal ; 
as letting loose a force that might be employed against our allies in the 
West Indies ; and as making no provision for the maintenance of the 
prisoners. Also, the British commissioners again did not have the 
authority to represent the King, a fact that Congress insisted upon 
so that any debt incurred by the commissioners would be binding on 
the British nation. 30 v 

Negotiations continued throughout the war in an effort to conclude 
a general exchange cartel, but to no avail. Local exchanges did con- 
tinue, even to the extent of permitting some individuals to return to 
their lines on parole to arrange for their own exchange. 31 

The Commissary General of Prisoners 

Due to a lack of uniformity in providing for prisoners of war, 
Washington in 1775 asked Congress to appoint a commissary of 
prisoners in . . these parts [Massachusetts] to attend to providing 
of necessaries for Prisoners dispersed in these Provinces." 32 Despite 
other letters with the same recommendation, 33 it was not until 7 Octo- 
ber 1776 that Congress resolved that a commissary of prisoners be ap- 
pointed by each of the states. When the recommendation finally was 
followed, confusion resulted : lack of uniformity in the management 
of the prisoners was prevalent ; each state was concerned solely with its 
own interests when exchanging prisoners with the enemy ; and some 
states failed to take sufficient measures to guarantee the security of the 
■ prisoners. Because of a lack of centralized control, the conditions 
gradually worsened until on 13 January 1780, at the request of Gen- 

Wharton, op. oit., Ill, pp. 648-49. 
2 s Honry Onderdonlt, Jr., Revolutionary Incidents of Suffolk and Kings Oountlea {New 
York, 1849), p. 233. 

=9 Wharton, op. cit., V, p. 8T1. 
™ Ibid. 

w The Public Records of the State of Connecticut, I, p. 160, and III, p. 275, 
32 Fitzpati'ick, op. oit., IV, p. 313. 
ss Ibid., V, p. 35, and VI, pp. 404, 456. 



eral Washington, Congress moved to reorganize prisoners' affairs. 3 * 
To remedy the "shameful and injurious manner" in which prisoner 
exchanges were being made, Congress appointed a Commissary Gen- 
eral of Prisoners. 35 It resolved that all prisoners captured by the 
Army or Navy of the United States or by subjects, troop Sj or ships of 
any state should be delivered into the care and custody of the Com- 
missary General of Prisoners, his deputies or assistants. In all re- 
spects, the captured enemy were to be deemed and treated as prisoners 
of war of the United States. General Washington, as commander in 
chief, received the authority to select the Commissary General of 
Prisoners and to appoint U. S. deputy commissaries in the- different 
states. 36 

Congress directed that thereafter the states were not to exchange 
prisoners but that all exchanges were to be made through the Com- 
missary General. As a concession to the states, Congress provided 
that prisoners taken by ships or troops of any particular state would 
be exchanged for men from those states. However, any surplus 
prisoners were to be exchanged regardless of the state of capture. 
The United States was to bear the costs to the states for transporting 
prisoners to the custody of a U. S. deputy commissary of prisoners. 
If one was not convenient, the prisoners were to be delivered to the 
county jail where, pending their removal, the United States was to 
be charged with the cost of their maintenance. 37 All officer prisoners 
of war on parole were required to pay their own expenses, including 
that for physicians, surgeons, and attendants, unless confined in hos- 
pitals. Such expenses were required to be paid before the prisoners' 
exchange would be effected. 

The Commissary General of Prisoners and his deputies had to make, 
regular monthly returns to the Board of War as to the number, situa- 
tion, and exchange of all prisoners and to render such other reports 
as circumstances deemed necessary. The congressional resolution 
also specified that all exchanges of prisoners of war were to be made 
on an individual basis of soldier for soldier and sailor for sailor. 
General Washington was reauthorized to conduct exchange arrange- 
ments directly with the British commander. 38 

M See : Vol. CLIV, pp. 45-50, for resolution of Congress, 13 .Tan 1780. Revolutionary 
War Records. National Archives. 

' s American Archives, ser. 5, vol. Ill, pp, 1311-12; Journals of Congress, VII, p. 2€9. 

3° See : Ltrs, Gerrot H. Van Wagoner, Deputy Commissary of Prisoners at Fishkill, N. Y., 
in vol. CLIV; Order BooJt, XVIII, p. 176; Order Boole, XXIX, p. 150; CLIV, pp. 33-34; 
Order Book, LXVII, p. 27. Revolutionary War Records. National Archives; Sparks, 
op. cit., V, p. 173 and VII, p. 209. 

37 Reimbursable maintenance costs to the states for PW's in confinement or on the 
march were limited to two-thirds of a soldier's ration. See : Order Book, XIX, p. 80. 
Revolutionary War Records. National Archives. 

38 Vol. CLIV, pp. 45-50. Revolutionary War Records. National Archives. 



The Convention Army 30 

When. Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered his British forces to 
Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates at Saratoga, N". Y., on 17 October 1777, over 
5,000 enemy troops fell into American custody. 40 Under the terms of 
the Articles of Convention executed between the two generals, 

A Free Passage -[is] to be granted to the Army under Lieut. Genl. Burgoyne 
to Great Britain, upon condition of not serving again in North America, dur- 
ing the present Contest ; find the Port of Boston is Assigned for the Entry 
. of Transports to Receive the Troops whenever General Howe shall so Order. 
Should any Cartel take plaee by which the Army under Lieut. General 
Burgoyne, or any part of it, may he exchang'd, the foregoing Article to be 
void as far as such exchange shall he made. 41 

These troops, known as the Convention Army, were marched under 
guard to Boston, the designated port of embarkation, where the Eng- 
lish were quartered outside the port on Prospect Hill and the Ger- 
mans on Winter Hill. The British officers were permitted to quarter 
themselves in the towns of Cambridge, Mystic, and Watertown, and 
were granted a parole of about 10 miles circumference excluding the 
city of Boston. 

Winter set in making sailing conditions between New York and 
Boston dangerous; therefore, General Burgoyne requested permis- 
sion of Congress to move his troops to Providence where they could 
more readily embark. Realizing the force that would be released to 
the enemy should the exchange of the Convention Army be made, 
Congress not only denied the request but forbade any embarkation 
until the surrender articles had been ratified by the British King and 
Parliament. Such ratification was not forthcoming since such an 
act would have admitted the authority of the American Congress and 
the independence of the United States. As a result, the Convention 
Army became prisoners of war with no hope of release except by 
exchange. 42 

39 Since the records and accounts of American PW operations during the Revolutionary 
War are disconnected and fragmentary, a chronological extract from the collected letters 
of a young l^ritish officer who wrote of his experiences as an American PW is presented 
for corroborative purposes. Ens Thomas Anburey who was with Gen Burgoyne and 
his Convention Army at the surrender at Saratoga, N. Y., was a PW for almost four 
years from Nov 1777 to Sep 1781. In his writings, Ens Anburey speaks of the treatment, 
supplies, food, quarters, guards, escapes, censorship, exchange, proselyting, and employ- 
ment of PW's. See : Thomas Anburey, Travels Through the Interior Parts of America 
(London, 1789) ; see also parallel account of Gen Rtedesel, commander of the German 
forces, in Editing, Memoirs and Letters and Journals of Major General Ttiedesel, I, pp. 
179-230, and II, pp. 1-80. 

40 "The prisoners numbered five thousand eight hundred, of whom half were Germans. . . ." 
See: Sir George O.. Trevelyan, The American Revolution (New York, 1899-1913), IV, 
p. 194. 

41 Francis J. Hudleston, Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne (New York, 1927), pp. 208-09, 
257. Gen Burgoyne felt that thoy would be exchanged for the troops then in Britain who 
in turn would be sent to Sir William Howe. 

"Anbnrey, op. ext., II, pp. 74, 77, 81, 191; Sparks, op. nit., V, pp. 143-45, IStin, ; 
Lossing, op. oit., p. 82 n. 



When the Council of Boston was informed of the status of the 
Convention Army, for security reasons it moved the English prisoners 
to Rutland, 55 miles away. Because the German prisoners were sub- 
missive they were permitted to remain near Boston. At Rutland, the 
English enlisted men were confined in barracks surrounded by 20-foot 
pickets, while the officers obtained quarters in nearby private homes. 
During this time, many prisoners deserted. 43 

The presence of part of the Convention Army at Rutland posed a 
problem. If the prisoners were continually locked up, they were apt 
to complain of the severity of treatment or of the insufficient food 
and clothing. If they were given freedom within the town limits, 
there were likely to be collisions with the local authorities and towns- 
people. This was partially solved by allowing many to go to work 
in the countryside; there they found the food and country living much 
more satisfactory. Others were later parceled out to nearby towns 
as laborers and artisans where the prisoners "forgot the duties of a 
soldier" and became so much a part of the local life that when the 
government ordered their removal the townspeople rescued them from 
the collecting officers.' 14 

Massachusetts wanted the southern provinces to share the burden 
of ministering to the prisoners, and Congress agreed with its claim. 
The war was then being fought in the Jerseys (a term then applied 
to New Jersey) and New York, excluding their consideration; Penn- 
sylvania was considered too ravaged by war; and Maryland was be- 
lieved to be too small a province to support the Convention Army. 
Thereupon, Congress selected Virginia because of its size, fertility, 
and the security it offered. 45 

In October 1778, Congress passed a resolution to march the Con- 
vention Army from Massachusetts to Charlottesville, Va., to remove 
them from the immediate scene of military operations. But since the 
800-mile march was to be done in the dead of winter-, the officers of the 
Convention Army were convinced that it was to cause the men to desert 
in considerable numbers. 46 Regardless of the reason for the move, 
many, especially the Germans, did desert in the course of the march to 
Virginia. The Hessians, seeing" the comfortable manner in which their 
countrymen lived in America, deserted in great numbers as the Con- 
vention Army moved through New York, the Jerseys, and Pennsyl- 
vania. 47 Many of these deserters were recruited into the American 
Army, a fact that made General Washington caustically remark that 

« Anburey, op. oit., pp, 192-93 ; Sparks, tip. tit,, pp. 296-97. 
« Newcomer, op. eit., pp. 94, 156. 
JB Anburey, op. cit., pp. 324- 25. 

"Claude G. Bowers, Tlie Young Jefferwn l"t h$-1.7R$ (Boston, 1945), pp. 220-31; 
Anburey, op. oit., p. 275. 

"Anburey, op. cit., p. 275; Lowell (op. cit., pp. 287, 290) states that 655 Englishmen 
and 160 Germans had deserted by 1 Apr 1778. 



Figure 1. Encampment of the Convention Army. 

if, simply gave the enemy back the men they had lost— that they would 
desert, again to the British at the first opportunity. 48 

The march was made in good weather by way of Valley Forge, Lan- 
caster, and York, Pa. But from Fredericks Town, Md., to Charlottes- 
ville, Va., the march was hindered by heavy snowfall and bad roads. 
On the arrival at Charlottesville, it was reported that no pen could de- 
scribe the scene of misery and confusion — the town consisted of only 
a court house, one tavern, and about a dozen houses. Since the army 
had not been expected until spring the prisoners were quartered in a 
few roofless log cabins. Food was scant and consisted of a little salt 
pork and corn meal cakes. Because of the situation, the officers were 
permitted a parole circuit of almost 100 miles in which to find them- 
selves lodging. This included the city of Richmond. 

The prisoners, through their own efforts, speedily remedied the sit- 
uation. They cleared the ground of the encampment area, divided it 
into small plots, and fenced and culti vated them . By their own efforts, 
the prisoners produced much of the food they required. In addition, 
they repaired and built additional barracks for themselves. Among 
other things, they built a theater, a coffee-house, a,nd a cold bath. Many 
of the captured officers built homes near the camp where they resided 
with their families, which they had brought to America with them/ 9 

Many English PW's deserted rather than endure their prison life 
in Virginia. Approximately one hundred reached New York, but 
sixty or seventy were caught and returned to Charlottesville where 
they were confined in a picketed prison near the barracks. 50 On the 
other hand, the German prisoners were content with their lot, being 

** Miller, op. eit., p. 507. 

™ See ; Walter Hart Blnmenthal, Women Camp Followers of the American Revolution 
(Philadelphia, 1952), pp. 29-34. See also: Lowell, op. cit, t pp. 282-84, 286; Bowers, op, 
dt., pp. 229-31 ; Lossing, op. cit., II, pp. GE50-51. 

50 Anburey, op. cit,, pp. 388-S9. 



paid by the British, and not having to fight. Further, the Americans 
permitted the Germans to go around the countryside to work. As a 
result of their handicrafts, they earned money exclusive of their mili- 
tary pay. 51 

The Convention Army stayed in Virginia until October 1780 when 
it was again moved. Since Cornwallis had achieved some military suc- 
cesses in the Carolinas, Congress thought his intention might be to re- 
take the prisoner army. Therefore, the army was put on the march 
by regiments in much the same manner as it had left New England, 
except its place of destination was unknown. Maryland, upon ap- 
proach of the army, absolutely refused admittance fearing such a 
. group would distress the inhabitants of so small a province. In fact 
it actually opposed a crossing of the Potomac with arms. Until the 
matter was adjusted, the army remained in Winchester, Va., at an old 
fort, and some of the prisoners worked on nearby farms. Other PW's 
who were offered work in Richmond refused to do so for fear their 
officers would deem them deserters. 52 

Maryland and Pennsylvania did. not want the prisoners of war 
because of the economic burden; therefore, the Commissary General of 
Purchases arranged to have Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland 
equally furnish the necessary provisions. 53 In late November, the Con- 
vention Army moved to Fredericks Town Md., where it remained 
temporarily. Here the prisoners were quartered in comfortable bar- 
racks, supplied with provisions, and allowed many privileges. They 
were allowed to work for the inhabitants of the town, and they could 
go into the country to purchase vegetables. 34 The German prisoners 
were sent to Fort Frederick, but despite the improved conditions, 
desertions continued. 55 

Because of the fear of an attack by Cornwallis to form a junction 
with other English troops that had been landed in Virginia, Maryland 
wanted the prisoners moved. And, as expected, orders arrived to 
move the Convention Army to Lancaster, Pa. Upon arrival at Lan- 
caster, the enlisted men were separated from the officers-— the latter 
being sent to Kings Bridge, Conn., for exchange. 58 Other than the 
officers, none of the Convention troops were restored to their native 
countries until the was was over. 57 

si/Mi., pp. 300-91 ; Treveiyan, op. nit., p. 206; Kelking, Memoirs and Letters and Jour- 
nals of Major General Medesel, II, p. 41. 

™ Calendar of Virginia State Papers, I, p. 480 ; Max von Editing, The German Allied 
Troops in the North American War of Independence, translated and abridged by Joseph G. 
Koaengarten (Albany, 1893), p. 215. 

-"Lucy Leigh Bowie, "German Prisoners in the American Revolution", Maryland His- 
torical Magazine, XL (1945), p. 103. 

Bt Anburey, op. ait., p. 429. 

ts Bowie, "German Prisoners in the American Revolution," op. ctit., p. 193; Anburey, op. 
cit, pp. 437, 444-45, 456. 

so Anburey, op. cit., pp. 441, 449, 466 ; Calendar of Virginia State Papers, I, p. 592. 

"Treveiyan, op. cit., p. 207; one British historian stated that after the separation of 
the officers and men, the enlisted PW's ". . . vanished no man knows whither." See : John 
W, Forteseue, A History of the British Army (London, 1911 ), III, pp. 242-43, 




The use of prisoners of war as instruments of retaliation was often 
threatened and sometimes used during the Kevolutionary War. Gen- 
eral Washington in 1775 had notified the British that their conduct 
toward American P'W's in their possession would determine the 
treatment accorded British and Hessian prisoners of war. The Brit- 
ish in turn maintained that, although they considered the war as a 
civil uprising, the prisoners were not considered traitors and were 
being treated with kindness. 5S 

However, in late 1776, after the British had captured Maj. Gen. 
Charles Lee of the Continental Army and had threatened to court- 
martial him as a deserter from the British Army, General Washington 
wrote Sir William Howe : ". . . any violence you may commit upon 
his life and liberty, will be severely retaliated upon the lives and 
liberties of the British officers, or those of their foreign allies in our 
hands." 59 This tone was often heard, both in the United States and 
abroad. The American commissioners in France wrote to Lord North 
on 12 December 1777: "Your Lordship must know, that it is in the 
power of those we have the honour to represent, to make ample retali- 
ation upon the numerous prisoners of all ranks in their possession ; 
and we warn and beseech you not to render it their indispensible 
duty." 60 

To retaliate against the treatment accorded Col. Ethan Allen by the 
English, Congress ordered Maj. Gen. Richard Prescott, a British 
officer, to be placed in irons and confined in jail. 61 Throughout 1777 
and 1778, both Congress and General Washington protested the treat- 
ment accorded American PW's who for the most part were treated as 
common criminals. British officers in American custody had been al- 
lowed $2 per week by the Continental Congress to support themselves, 
and British privates had been granted permission to work and keep 
their wages. When the British continued their mistreatment of Amer- 
ican prisoners, Congress withdrew tlife $2 allowance and recalled all 
those prisoners at work. They were then accorded treatment similar 
to that received by American prisoners of war. The various state gov- 
ernments assisted in executing this policy of retaliation. 02 

In the South where the predominant pro-British population aided 
the English troops, retaliation was even more prevalent. For instance, 
in February 1779, 70 Tories captured in North Carolina while 
slaughtering cattle for food were tried for high treason and con- 

58 John A. Almon (ed.), The Remembrancer or Impartial Repository of Public Events 
(Londou, 1778), I, p. 177 ; American Archives, ser. 4, vol. Ill, p, 249. 
M Saffell, op. cit., p. 203. 
oo Almoii, op. cit., V, p. 512. 
61 Journals of Congress, IV, pp. 22-23. 

o*ma., X, pp. 78-81, and XI, p. 72S ; Archives of Maryland, XVI, p. 490 ; The State 
Records of North Carolina, XVII, pp. 829, 834, 925-26. 



demned to death. Five of the most active prisoners were hanged, and 
the others were pardoned. 03 

Recruitment of Enemy Prisoners of War Into the Military Service 

Comparatively early in the conflict, British deserters and even pris- 
oners of war were enlisted in the American Army. Because of so many 
desertions to the enemy and the espionage activities of these former 
prisoners, both the Continental Congress and General Washington dis- 
approved of this practice. 64 Washington, however, urged that those 
already enlisted not be withdrawn : "I would not have them again 
withdrawn and sent in, because they might be subjected to punish- 
ment, but I would have the practice discontinued in the future." 05 
Enlistments continued, however, and Congress, no doubt in view of 
the manpower situation, ^authorized the raising of German battalions, 
and in August 1776 authorized the granting of land bounties to enemy 
deserters. 6 ** 

In 1778, Congress promised Hessian prisoners of war who joined' 
the Continental Army a higher rank and an appointment to a corps 
which was composed exclusively of Germans. This corps was em- 
ployed on frontier or garrison duty. fiT Later in 1778 the congressional 
policy appeared to waver, and a congressional committee condemned 
the practice of enlistment of enemy forces as being "impolitic." At 
this time, General Washington also objected to the policy. 68 The re- 
cruiting of disaffected men (especially the foreign-born) , prisoners of 
war, and enemy deserters was a contributing factor of some importance 
in the desertion of American troops. Such recruits demoralized the 
American soldiers who deserted upon the least excuse. 69 

By 1782, however, the manpower situation had become so acute that 
Congress issued another proclamation to the German PW's urging 
them to join the Continental Army and promising promotions to their 
commissioned and noncommissioned officers. This was done at the 
suggestion of General Washington who now thought the German vet- 
erans would strengthen the American army. 70 The recruitment of the 
Hessians was done openly. Although some recruitment was done, the 

63 Lossing, op. tit., II, p. 506. 

" Fitzpatrick, op. eit., XI, p. 99; John C. Mi Her, Triumph of Freedom, 1775-1783 (Bos- 
ton, 1948), p. 507 ; American Archives, ser. 5, vol. Ill, p. 920. 
05 American Archives, ser, 5, vol. Ill, p. 920, 

wiHd,, ser. 4, vol. VI, pp. 1132, 1508 ; Journals of Congress, IV, pp. 302, 36211. 
OT Saffiell, op. eit., pp. 401-02 ; Edward J. Lowell, The Hessians and the Other German 
Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War (New York, 1884) , p. 286. 
08 Journals of-Congress, XII, p. 1159. 

a » Allen Bowman, The Morale of the American Revolutionary Army (Washington, 1943), 
p. 73. 

to Congress in its resolution stated that ". . . the Commander in Chief lias for several 
years made trial of the fidelity of some of the German prisoners, who were formed into a 
separate corps, and highly approves their past conduct." See: Journals of Congress, 
XXII, p. 275. See also : Miller, op. ait., p. 507 ; Kelking, T,he German, Allied Troops in the 
North American War of Independence, pp. 19-21 ; Fitzpatriek, op. cit., XXV, p, 467. 



only record that can be found is that Count Casimir Pulaski com- 
manded a corps comprised of approximately 400 German deserters. 71 

As an inducement to Canada to join with the United States, a pro- 
posal was made in Congress in 17S2 to establish a regiment composed 
of Canadian PW's who would be willing to enlist. But apparently 
this proposal was lost in committee. 72 Congress had earlier approved a 
similar resolution on 5 August 1776 that permitted the voluntary en- 
listment of captured Canadian seamen into the American naval forces 
and had granted permission to the states and private individuals to 
enlist British seamen taken prisoners. 73 

Employment of Prisoners of War 

During the Revolutionary War, there was no definite policy or or- 
ganized program for the employment of prisoners of war at useful 
labor. For the most part, enlisted prisoners were placed in restraint 
pending an exchange, although Congress did permit them to exercise 
their trades and to labor to support themselves. Officer PW's were 
usually paroled within a certain area while waiting exchange and were 
not employed. 74 Before the Continental Congress authorized each 
state to appoint a Commissary of Prisoners, local state and town com- 
mittees dealt with the prisoner of war problem and were responsible 
for the labor of the prisoners. In June 1776, 217 Scotch Highland 
Regulars captured aboard a British transport were turned over to the 
state of Virginia who sent the cadets and noncommissioned officers to 
places of security along the frontier ; the privates were distributed by 
Jocal committees to families throughout the middle counties where, 
one to a family, they could be employed at such wages as they would 
accept. In this way, the prisoners were secured as well as usefully em- 
ployed, 75 Richard Henry Lee stated that this permitted the prisoners 
a chance "... to become the Citizens of America instead of its ene- 
mies." 76 

Also in June 1776, the Committee of Prisoners in Connecticut re- 
solved that those prisoners of war, except officers, who desired to labor 
at their respective trades could do so; and that they would receive 
wages in addition to the costs of the billeting allowed by the Conti- 
nental Congress. 77 However, it decided that it would be unsafe and 
improper to employ them in making firearms, gunpowder, casting 
cannon, cannonballs, or in erecting fortifications. 78 On the other hand, 

71 Lowell, op. Git., p. 288, 

72 Journals of Congress, IX, pp. 986, 1037. 

72 IMd., V, p. 630 ; American Archives, ser. 5, vol. Ill, p. 1532. 

« Journals of Congress, IV, pp. 370-73. 

75 American Archives, ser. 4, vol. VI, p. 1587. 

™ Charles Lee (cd.) The Lee Papers ("Collections of the New York Historical Socletv 
1872," Vol. II [New Yoi'fc, 1S7"3] }, p. 98, 

"American Archives, ser. 4, vol. VI, p. 1137 ; The Public Records of the State of Connect- 
icut, I, p. 419, and II, p. 214. 

JS American Archives, ser. 5, vol. I, p. 46. 



the Continental Congress resolved on 22 July 1776 that a "Captain Joy 
[would] have liberty to employ eight of the Prisoners in the business 
of casting Cannon." 79 In Massachusetts, the committees of Spring- 
field, Westfield, and "West Springfield met on 3 July 1776 and formu- 
lated regulations requiring among other things that an employer of 
the services of a prisoner of war send a copy of the labor agreement to 
the local committee within three weeks. 

The First Large-Scale Employment of PW's 

Probably the first large-scale attempt at systematized employment 
was at Lancaster, Pa. On 26 December 1776, the Continental Army 
captured approximately 1,000 PW's at Trenton, N. J., and marched 
them to Lancaster, Pa., where they were confined. 80 When news of 
the success of the battle reached Congress, a committee advised General 
Washington not to exchange the prisoners, who were mainly Hessians : 
"We think their capture affords a favourable opportunity of making 
them acquainted with the situation and circumstances of many of their 
countrymen. . . ." 81 Consequently, they were imprisoned. Upon the 
arrival of the PW's at Lancaster, a census was taken of those who had 
skilled trades, and 315 were found to be skilled artisans. These in- 
cluded weavers, tailors, shoemakers, stocking-makers, millers, bakers, 
butchers, carpenters, joiners, smiths, and plasterers. 82 

Several factors influenced the eventual use of the PW's. First, the 
crowded conditions of the barracks and the shortages of rations war- 
ranted this action ; second, the Hessian prisoners of war, who were 
more often paroled to work than were the British, were considered 
more dependable from a security standpoint; 83 third, numerous re- 
quests were made for the prisoner of war labor, 34 Therefore, on 3 
March 1777, the Council of Safety at Lancaster authorized that the 
Hessian prisoners be paroled to trustworthy persons for employment. 
Returns had to be kept which listed the names of the employers and 
the names and occupations of the prisoners. 85 

When the PW's were hired out, Congress paid them in money the 
value of their rations. In. addition, the farmers gave them their 
meals and $7.50 per month. The person who hired them was respon- 
sible for their security and was required to pay Congress $200 if one 
deserted. (There is record of this security being as high as £1,000 
in the case of an expert wheelwright.) se As craftsmen were in great 

™JMd.,x>. 1587. 

SD Lowell, op. cit., p. 96. 

81 American Archives, sen 5, vol. Ill, pp. 1458-59. 
Samuel Hazard and Others (eds.), Pennsylvania Archives (Philadelphia & Harris- 
burg, 1852- ) ser. 2, vol. I. p. 435. 

^EeJking, Memoirs and Letters and Journals of Major General Riedesel, pp. 33-34. 

« "Minutes of the Supremo Executive Council of Pennsylvania," Pennsylvania Archives, 
XI, pp. 85, 186 ; sec also : Ibid., ser. 1, vol. V, p. 206. 

86 Ibid., sor. 1, vol. V, p. 206. 

88 Bowie, "German Prisoners in the American Revolution," op. cit., p. 186. 



demand, by March 1777 the American authorities had allowed the 
prisoners to be hired out in the Lancaster area. Later the area was 
expanded. At Easton, Pa., the prisoners who worked received $1 
per day with which they could buy apparel in local stores. 87 Thirty 
were selected to make shot and cannon for the American Army at a 
forge and iron foundry at Mount Hope, N. J., and, at one time, a 
group of Scotch prisoners was hired by Pres. John Witherspoon of 
Princeton University, a fellow Scot. 88 The officers who were paroled 
were allowed the following numbers of orderlies : field officers, three 
soldiers for servants; captains, two soldiers; subalterns, one. 89 

In August 1777 when the British fleet entered the Chesapeake Bay, 
General Washington ordered the prisoners at Lancaster to be moved 
to Reading, Pa. To assemble the prisoners of war "... a bellman 
went around the town of Lancaster calling upon all inhabitants . . . :: 
who had hired Hessian prisoners to take them to the barracks and 
to receive receipts for them. 00 

Some British officers stated that the German PW's who were taken 
to Lancaster and Reading were visited by American clergymen who 
read them the following proclamation : 

The King of Great Britain refused to pay for their maintenance, their 
Tyrant princes also had abandoned and sold them, Congress did there- 
fore leave it to their choice, either to enlist in the American Service, or 
pay 30 I. currency of Pennsylvania for their past maintenance in hard money, 
which sum, if they could not afford to pay, the farmers would advance for 
them on binding themselves to serve them for three years, in hoth of which 
case they must take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States." 1 

The prisoners were advised by the clergymen to accept the first alter- 
native rather than to be indentured to the farmers. 93 One of the most 
notorious instances of this indenturing was that of 35 prisoners of 
war bound out to ironmaster John Jacob Faesch, at Mount Hope, 
K. J. These PW's wrote that Faesch had procured them from a 
Philadelphia jail. On two occasions, they escaped and were recap- 
tured, and on each occasion, Faesch procured their freedom — one 
time by paying $20 each for them, whereupon he deducted this sum 
from their wages. The prisoners claimed they were cruelly beaten 
after each recapture. 93 

When the British advanced into Pennsylvania, the prisoners were 
moved to Winchester, Va., in two contingents where those Germans 
in the first group were allowed to hire themselves out as farm 

87 Haffner, np. cit., p, 376. 

BS Board of War Reports, sor. 147, vol. II,» No. 515, Revolutionary War Records. Na- 
tional Archives. 

80 Bowie, "German Prisoners in the American Revolution," op. cit., p. 186. 

00 ma., p. 188. 

31 Hieliard B. Morris, Government and Labor in Early America (New York, 1946), p. 304. 
w This had been -prohibited by a congressional resolution of 22 May 1778. See: Lowell, 
op. cit., pp. 288-89, 

03 Morris, op. cit., pp. 304-05. 



servants. 94 The others were imprisoned. Later when the barracks at 
Winchester became overcrowded and some of the prisoners were 
ordered to Frederick, Md., the Virginia farmers protested the loss of 
the cheap labor supply. 95 A. few of the prisoners at Frederick hired 
themselves out to work their trades and to cut wood for the barracks 
master. Others were hired to work at iron and salt works, and some 
worked as farm hands to thresh wheat to supply the French fleet." 
The use of a prisoner of war "band of Musik" was authorized at Fred- 
erick to play for ladies who were "all anxious for the musik. . . ." 
These prisoners were paid a salary . S)T 

The Hessian band captured at Trenton was kept at Philadelphia 
where it played for a dinner given for Congress on the first anniversary 
of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. When Congress 
was forced to leave Philadelphia, the band accompanied it. It was in 
constant demand for parties and balls of all sorts, and for each night's 
performance received '£15. The limits of the parole of its members 
covered a wide area. ss 

The Surrender of Cornwallis 

On 19 October 1.781, Lord Cornwallis surrendered approximately 
7,000 men to General Washington at Yorktown." In the preliminary 
talks, General Washington would not agree to sending the prisoners 
back to Europe but stated that the garrisons of York and Gloucester 
and all seamen ". . . will be received as Prisoners of War." 100 Under 
the terms of the surrender agreement, the prisoners were to be kept 
in either Virginia, Maryland, or Pennsylvania while Cornwallis and 
a number of his officers were to be sent on parole to New York. As it 
turned out, the prisoners were divided between Winchester, Va., and 
Fort Frederick, Md., with the German prisoners going to Fort 
Frederick. 101 

Part of the Germans received at Fort Frederick were turbulent and 
part were well behaved. To better manage the turbulent group, it was 
planned to hire out the cooperative prisoners. However, Elias Boudi- 
not, the Commissary General, of Prisoners, refused this plan, stating 
that it would counteract orders issued by Congress that, all prisoners 

°i Bowie, "German Prisoners in the American, Revolution," op. cit., p. 189 ; Tjowell, op. 
cit., pp. 105-06. 

osEelking, The German Allied Troops in the North American War of Independence, p. 

00 Board of War Report*, ser. 147, vol. II, No. 515. 
07 Fitzpatricli, op. eit., XXIV, p. 432 n. 

™ Bowie, "German Prisoners in the American Revolution," op. eit., pp. 198-99. 
»<> Fortescue states that 6,630 men surrendered, of whom 2,500 werj Germans, See : 
Fortescue, op. cit., Ill, p. 401. 

1( »FitHpatrick, op. eit., XXIII, p. 237. 

^ Ibid., i>p. 200-61, 303. The only record that could be found concerning Americana 
who fought for Lord Cornwallis states Hi at bp "inuves them to be hanged." See : Wharton, 
op, cit. 3 I, p. 312. 



would be kept in close confinement. 102 Thus the employment program 
was curtailed. 

There are, however, other scattered records of employment. In Sep- 
tember 1782 Maj. Gen. Henry Knox was authorized to use German 
prisoners of was as "armourers." General Knox was told that he could 
secure prisoner cooperation if he would promise them their liberty 
in 12 months or upon completion of a stipulated period of work. 103 
Captured drivers were kept along with their wagons and horses to serve 
the Continental Army. 104 In the South there is some record of the bat- 
tlefield employment of PWs. Those taken at Kings Mountain, N". C, 
were used to bury the dead while others were employed to carry weap- 
ons from the battlefield. Their use was a necessity since no other 
labor was available. 105 .In December 1782, Congress passed a formal 
resolution for the employment of British prisoners of war. It pro- 
posed "That the Secretary of War be empowered to permit any British, 
prisoner to hire himself as a laborer, provided the person who employs 
him shall give sufficient security for his appearance when called for 
. . . and that he pays to the Superintendent of Finance four dollars 
monthly for the hire of such prisoner. . . ." 100 Although the Secre- 
tary of War authorized the employment of the British PWs there is 
no record of any widespread use. However, because of demand, iron- 
masters and shoemakers among the PWs had no difficulty in obtaining 
employment during the post-Yorktown period. Inhabitants who had 
cared for sick and wounded prisoners of war were willing to hire 
them when they recovered, and Congress sanctioned this employment 
under bond. 107 

The Cessation of Hostilities and the Peace Treaties 

In 1782 a bill was passed in England releasing all prisoners of war, 
and by 20 April 1782 ships were being prepared to transport them to 
America. 108 In the United States after the ultimate cessation of hostil- 
ities, Congress, on 15 April 1783, resolved that the Secretary of War, 
in conjunction with the Commander in Chief, should make proper ar- 
rangements for setting at liberty all land prisoners. The agent of the 
marine was to release all naval prisoners. -This resolution took place 

after Congress had ratified a proposed treaty of peace that stated" . . . 
all prisoners on both sides shall be sot at liberty. . . ," 109 

102 Bowie, "German Prisoners in the American Revolution," op. oU., p. 194. See also - 
Archives of Maryland, XXI, pp. 348-49, 363. 
KttJHtzpatrick, op. cit., XXV, p. 140. 
104 Ibid., XXVI, p. 272. 
10 »Haffner, op. cit,, p. 394. 
10 * Journals of Congress, XXIII, pp. 785, 867. 
107 Haffneu, op. cit., p. 502. 

nU nn J ^'' T P ' 4R5 1 GfllUard Hlmt (e(U ' The Writ ™a« of James Madison (New York, London 
1900-10), I, pp. 222-223. 

109 Journals of Congress, XXIV, pp. 243, 249, 327-28. 

338293— 55 3 



Accordingly, Washington asked Sir Guy Carleton, the British Com- 
mander in Chief, whether he wanted the prisoners marched overland 
to New York for embarkation, or Whether he wanted to take them part 
way by water transportation. Washington suggested the latter be- 
cause of the season of the year and the inclement weather. At this 
time, 1,500 prisoners of war, including women and children, were 
quartered at Fredericktown, Md., and 4,500 were interned in Penn- 
sylvania. 170 Carleton replied on 24 April 1783 that a lack of tonnage 
to transport the prisoners made it necessary to march them to New 

To recall those prisoners who were working, ads were placed 
in local newspapers, but a number of Hessian prisoners were 
offered a unique scheme to remain as free residents of the United 
States. The Superintendent of Finance was indebted to certain iron- 
mongers who had supplied shot and shells to the American Army, and 
to work out the debt the Superintendent of Finance indentured some 
Hessian prisoners to the ironmongers. In one such instance, 33 Hes- 
sians worked for John Jacob Faesch and obtained their freedom and 
release by working out an indebtedness of $80 each. 111 Other Hessian 
prisoners of war, who had married or who had deserted and had taken 
up residence in America, were permitted to ransom themselves for 80 
Spanish milled dollars (hard money) . Those who could not raise the 
amount usually found some Americans who were willing to advance 
it in return for labor for a fixed term. These prisoners were called 
"redemptioners," and their bargains had a type of legal sanction. 
They were made public at church, and they were generally acknowl- 
edged as binding. 112 Approximately 6,000 Hessians remained in the 
United States after the Revolutionary War. lls The development of 
woolen and worsted industries in this country was aided both by 
Eritish PWs and by deserters from the British Army who remained 
in the United States after the war. 114 

By July 1783 all the American prisoners in England had been dis- 
charged, and by 3 September 1783 all the prisoners of war in the 
United States had left except those who chose to stay behind. 115 

The Treaty of Paris which was concluded with Great Britain on 3 
September 1783 and ratified by the U. S. Congress on 14 January 
1784 stated in article VI ". . . and that those who may be in confine- 

110 Fitzpatriek, op. cit., XXVI, pp. 840-42. 

"tLtrs, Samuel Hodgden, Commissary General of Military Stores, in vols. XCII, pp. 297, 
311, 321, 322, 341, and XXXI, p. 713. Revolutionary War Records. National Archives, 
^ lis Eclking, The German Allied Troops in the Worth American War of Independence, p. 

"■ 1 Morris, op. ext., p. 305n. 

"'Arthur Harrison Cole (ofl.), Industrial and Commercial Correspondence of Alexander 
Hamilton Anticipating His Report on Manufactures {Chicago, 1928), pp 7-8 
110 Iiaffner, op. cit., pp. 466, 507. 


ment . . ., at the time of ratification of the treaty in America, shall be 
immediately set at liberty. . . ." 

The following year, the United States reached a similar agreement 
with Prussia (the Treaty of Amity and Commerce of 1785), whereby 
in the future PW's would be granted certain rights, among which was 
the right to appoint a commissary to make open reports to their native 
country. The treaty is notable in that it furnished the precedent that 
formally specified the duty of the captor toward its prisoners, and, 
as such, was the forerunner for the multilateral conventions among na- 
tions relative to the treatment accorded prisoners of war. The treaty 
concluded : ". . . it is declared, that neither the pretense that war dis- 
solves all treaties, nor any other whatever, shall be considered as an- 
nulling or suspending this . . . article ; but on the contrary that the 
state of war is precisely that for which they are provided, and during 
which they are to be sacredly observed as the most acknowledged arti- 
cle in the law of nature or nations." lM 

Reenacted in 1799 as the Treaty of Berlin and extended in 1828, this 
treaty of 1785 existed as the only mutually effective agreement be- 
tween the United States and Germany relative to the treatment of 
prisoners of war during World "War I. 1 " 

lln Arthur B. Keith, WJieatnn's International Law (7th ed. ; London, 1A14), II, p, 178, 
See also: Flory, op. oit., p. 17; TL S. Statutes 84, 96 (1785) ; William M. Malloy (ed.), 
'Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Protocols cmd Agreements Between the United 
States of America mid Other Powers (Washington, 1910-1038), II, pp. 1484-85, 1494-95. 

U7 H Doc 544, 71st Cong., 3d seas., Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United 
States, IMS, supp. I, vol. I, pp. 55, 57. 

Chapter 2 

Prisoners of War as Instruments of Retaliation and 


The War of 1812 

During the War of 1812, the United States Government adopted 
measures to solve prisoner of war (PW) problems as they arose, evi- 
dently profiting by the experiences gained in the Revolutionary War. 
A Commissary General of Prisoners was appointed to supervise and 
conduct prisoner of war activities in the United States; an American 
commission was maintained in London for the purpose of negotiating 
an exchange cartel; and both the United States and Great Britain 
maintained agents in the other's territory to aid nationals in enemy 
hands and to effect exchanges. 

Enemy prisoners of war captured by American forces were imme- 
diately evacuated from the fighting zone to a safe area where they 
were either quartered in private homes on a contract basis, or, if the 
number captured so warranted it, in PW camps established on mili- 
tary bases. If the PW's were quartered in private homes, the United 
States Government assumed the cost of their board and lodging. 
Similarly, the services of a physician and burial services were pro- 
vided for, either by private contract or by the U S. Army. 1 There 
was no organized PW employment program during the War of 1812, 
nor was there any program for the enlistment of enemy PW's into 
the American military services. But they were used as instruments 
of retaliation and exchange. 


Perhaps historically one of the most famous illustrations of the 
use of prisoners of, war as instruments of retaliation occurred in the 
War of 1812. In the late fall of 1812, Lt. Col. (later Lt. Gen.) 
Winfield Scott surrendered his small force of Militiamen to Brig. Gen. 
Robert H. Sheaffe after the Battle of Queenston, 1ST. Y. Colonel 
Scott and his men were imprisoned in Canada, but 23 Americans who 

1 War of 1812, Miscellaneous Correspondence and Accounts, Prisoner of War Records. 
Records ef The Adjutant General's Office, National Archives. 




were Irish by birth were seized by the British and sent to England 
to be tried as traitors. 

When Colonel Scott was released in January or February 1813, he 
appeared before Congress to press the subject of retaliation against 
British prisoners of war. A bill vesting "the President of the United 
States with powers of retaliation" was introduced and would have 
passed if the President had not already had full constitutional powers 
to conduct the war. Nevertheless, Colonel Scott, upon his return to 
duty and with the permission of the President, selected 23 British PWs 
to be confined in the interior of the United States in retaliation. 

In October 1813, Sir George Prevost, the British representative in 
Canada, ordered 46 American officers and noncommissioned officers 
placed in close confinement to insure the safety of those imprisoned 
by Scott. The United States responded by imprisoning a like num- 
ber, whereupon Prevost ordered all American officer PWs in his 
department, without distinction of rank, to be placed in close confine- 
ment. These retaliatory measures gradually relaxed in the spring 
ofl814. 2 


Although local battlefield exchanges had taken place, the first for- 
mal negotiations between the United States and Great Britain for 
the exchange of prisoners of war began in November 1812. . On 28 
November 1812, agents of the United States and Great Britain met at 
Halifax, Nova Scotia, and concluded a provisional agreement for the 
exchange of naval prisoners. However, the United States objected 
to certain portions of the agreement, and it did not go into force. 
Nevertheless, it did serve as the basis for the Washington Cartel 
of 1813. 3 

The Washington Cartel 

On 14 May 1813, John Mason, the Commissary General for 
Prisoners of the United States, and Thomas Barclay, His Britannic 
Majesty's agent for prisoners of war, signed a cartel for the general 
exchange of all Army and Navy prisoners of war based on the Halifax 
agreement of November 18 12. 4 The cartel specified the prisoners 
would be exchanged without delay and as speedily as circumstances 
would permit, and provided a schedule of equivalents for the ex-, 
change. It stipulated that if either nation at any time delivered more 
PW's than it received, it was optional with such nation to stop sending 
more prisoners on credit until a balance had been achieved. 

2 diaries W. Elliott, WinfleUl Scott: tlie Soldier and the Man (New York, 1937), pp. 
82-83 ; Benson J, Lossing, The Pietorial Field-Book of the War of ISIS (New York, 1868), 
pp. 409/40911. 2, 788-8[>n. 

3 Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America {Dept. of State 
Publication No. 175), VII, pp. 568-73. 

*Ibii., II, pr>. 557-63. 



Provision was made to permit PW's to return to their homeland on 
parole on the condition that they would not reengage in military 
activities against the other side until they had been designated as regu- 
larly exchanged. When both sides, through an exchange of approved 
lists, acknowledged such an exchange, the prisoners were freed from 
any parole conditions and could serve again in the military forces. 

In addition to parole and exchange provisions, the cartel provided 
for the treatment and discipline of prisoners of war consistent with 
the humanitarian concepts of the period. Types of food and a health- 
ful diet were prescribed, and agents from both governments could 
inspect the quantity and quality of the subsistence' provided. The 
agents also had the liberty of supplying their prisoners with clothing 
and with such other small allowances as were deemed reasonable. No 
reference was made to prisoner of war employment. 

The U. S. Secretary of State immediately ratified the cartel, and 
copies of the instrument were printed and distributed widely. The 
British Government objected, to several details of the provisions and 
never ratified the cartel. Nevertheless, it was treated by both sides 
as being in full force from 14 May 1813 (the date of its signing by 
the United States) until 8 February 1814, at which time the objections 
of the British Government were made known. However, there was an 
understanding that the cartel should continue in force after 8 Feb- 
ruary so far as it was not further .objected to by the British 
Government. 5 

During the war, other agreements for the exchange of PW's were 
also made, the most important being a convention signed at Montreal 
on 15 April 1814. In March 1814, the United States Government sent 
Brig. Gen. William H. Winder to Quebec to negotiate for the exchange 
of prisoners, but the negotiations were temporarily suspended when 
President Madison refused to consent to the release of the 23 British 
officers who had been imprisoned by Colonel Scott unless the 23 Irish- 
American prisoners in Great Britain were simultaneously released. 
Finally on 15 April 1814 at Montreal, General Winder and a Colonel 
Baynes, who had been appointed by Sir George Prevost to negotiate 
the exchange, signed the articles of a convention for the mutual release 
of all PW's, hostages or others, except the 23 Queenston PW's, the 23 
American-held PW's, and the 46 American officers held as hostages 
for the 23 British officers interned by the United States. Those on 
parole were released by this exchange and could reenter the military 
service after 15 May 1814. None of these provisions, nor those of 

*Ibid.,vv- 565-67. 



other agreements, were regarded as militating against the "Washington 
Cartel. 6 

Very soon after the signing of the convention, England sent word 
that proceedings had never been instituted against the 23 Irish-Amer- 
icans and that they had been restored to the condition of ordinary pris- 
oners of war. The hostages on both sides were immediately released, 
and early in July 1814 another cartel for the exchange of prisoners of 
war was ratified and executed. 7 

With the cessation of hostilities and the signing of the Treaty of 
Ghent on 24 December 1814, both sides released their prisoners of war 
upon payment of debts contracted by the prisoners during their 
captivity. 8 

The War With Mexico 

During the two years of the Mexican War, 1846-1848, American 
forces captured numerous prisoners of war. Because of the problems 
involved (including costs and supply) in either holding them behind 
American lines or sending them to the United States for internment, 
the PW's were generally released on parole and permitted to return 
to their homes on the condition that they would not reengage in the 
hostilities. Those who would not give their parole were placed in 

The President of the United States approved of this policy in 1846, 
as is evidenced in the following message from the Secretary of War, 
W. L. Marcy, to Maj . Gen. Zachary Taylor : 

The President has seen, with much satisfaction, the civility and kindness 
with which you have treated your prisoners, and all the inhabitants with 
whom you have come in contact. He wishes the course of conduct con- 
tinued, and all opportunities taken to conciliate the inhabitants, and to let 
them see that peace is within their reach the moment their rulers will 
consent to do us justice. 10 

Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott, commanding the American forces, re- 
ported that at times he released all prisoners on parole, officers and en- 

® Ibid., p. 507; American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Fweoutive of the 
Congress of the United States, S March 178S-3 March 1815 (Washington, 1832), III, pp. 
630-93, 728. For particulars of the other agreements, see ITeKeltiah Niles, Wiles Weekly 
Register (Baltimore, 1811-49), VII, ' pp. 145-48, and XX, suppl., pp. 65-70; Lossing, 
The Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812, p. 789n. 

i Lossing, The Pictorial Field-Booh of the War of 1812, p. 789n. 

3 Article III of the Treaty of Ghent that ended the War of 1812 provided : 

All prisoners of war, taken on either side, as well by land as by sea, shall be 
restored as soon as practicable after the ratifications of this treaty, as hereinafter 
mentioned, on their paying the debts "which they may have contracted during their 
captivity. The two contracting parties respectively engage to discharge, In specie, 
the advances which may have been made by the other for the sustenance and main- 
tenance of such prisoners. 
See: American State Papers , . Ill, p. 745. 

8 II Exec Doc 60, 30th Cong., 1st scss., "Mexican War Correspondence, VII, pp. 297, 

"/Sid, p. 333. 



listed men alike. Those who would not sign a parole were sent* to a 
central point to await exchange. 11 Thus, the 3,000 prisoners taken in 
the battle of Cerro Gordo in April 1847 were paroled as were the pris- 
oners captured at Vera Cruz and elsewhere. 12 However, the release of 
the 3,000 at Cerro Gordo by General Scott brought about a change in 
the official Government attitude : 

Your course hitherto, in relations to prisoners of war, both men and offi- 
cers, in discharging them on parole, hay been liberal and kind; but whether 
it ought to be still longer continued, or in same respects changed, has been 
under the consideration of the President, and ... so far as relates to the 
officers, he thinks they should be detained until duly exchanged. In that 
case, it will probably be round expedient to send them, or most of them, to 
the United States. You will not, therefore, except for special reasons in 
particular cases, discharge the officers, who may be taken prisoners, but 
detain them with yon, or send them to the United States, as you shall 
deem most expedient. 13 

As a result of this change the majority of the Mexican officers cap- 
tured at Chapultepec were placed in confinement. 14 

Some "head-for-head" exchanges of individual prisoners took place 
on occasion, but there is no record of any productive employment of 
prisoners of war in Mexico nor of their enlistment into the United 
States armed forces. 15 

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, concluded on 2 February 1848 
and "which settled the dispute with Mexico, provided "All prisoners 
of war taken on either side, on land or on sea, shall be restored as 
soon as practicable after the exchange of ratifications of this treaty." 
Ratifications were exchanged on 30 May 1848. 16 

11 Ho. Army of Occupation, SO 180, 7 Bee 1846, Filed in iUd., pp. 526-27. 
ls IUd., pp. 082, 1G55-59; Justin H. Smith, The War with Mexico (New York, 1019), 
II, pp. 32, 340 ii. 27. 

™ H Exec Doc GO, p. 1233. See also : ibid., pp, 1227-51. 

14 Although 700 Mexicans were made prisoners and 2,000 were killed or wounded at 
Chapultepet: "about as many deserted the colors and went off to their homes." See : 
Elliott, op. cit., pp. 534 -35. 

15 H Exec Doc (50, pp. 297, 437 ; Smith, op. cit., pp. 32, 340n. 27. 
10 Malloy, op. cit., I, pp. 1107, 11.09. 

Chapter 3 

The Lack of Utilization of Prisoners of War During the 

Civil War 

The Civil War provided the United States Army with its first expe- 
rience in the custody and. administration of a large number of pris- 
oners of war (PW's). During the war, there was no definite pattern 
of prisoner of war utilization by either the Union or Confederate 
forces, and, for the most part, the majority of the prisoners sat out the 
war in idle confinement and in varying degrees of physical comfort or 

The principal form of utilization was represented by a formal ex- 
change cartel in July 1862 between the North and the South to recover 
. personnel who had fallen into the hands of the other side. Later this 
agreement broke down under situations that suggested the resort to 
military expediency. Both sides also permitted prisoners of war to 
volunteer for enlistment in the forces of their captor, but the employ- 
ment of the PW's as a labor force never materialized, although in 
the Union Army such a plan was suggested. In the closing months of 
the war, the Office of the Commissary General of Prisoners issued the 
first formal instructions for the employment of prisoners of war in the 
history of the United States Army. 

The outbreak of hostilities in April 1861 between the Federal Gov- 
ernment and the seceding States found neither side prepared to handle 
large numbers of prisoners of war. Past experience of the Army was 
able to contribute but little to the solution of such a problem. Brevet 
Lt. Gen. Winfielcl Scott, the General in Chief, had a wealth of expe- 
rience accumulated during more than half a century of active duty, 
including both the War' of 1812 and the War with Mexico. But the 
experience in respect to prisoners of war in these two conflicts bore 
only tangent] y on the problems of large-scale civil warfare. 

The problem confronting the Federal Government in the Civil War 
was similar to that encountered by Great Britain during the Revolu- 
tionary War Both had maintained that the opposition represented a 
rebellion against constituted authority and had no existence in law. 
Hence its leaders, and all who supported them, were considered as en- 
gaged in treasonable activities and if captured were to be treated as 




traitors under the penalties of law. But this concept could, have a prac- 
tical validity only if the rebellion were contained or subdued within a 
short time. Such was not the case in the Civil War, and the repulses 
suffered by the Union armies during the summer of 1861 left more 
prisoners of war in the hands of the Confederate authorities than the 
Federal forces had captured. Under such circumstance, the South 
was in a position to retaliate to any extreme measures. 

For the first year of the war little was done on either side to regular- 
ize the handling of PW's. The Confederate authorities were willing 
to release, either on parole or through a formal exchange, the PW's in 
their hands. On the other side, the Union authorities feared that the 
conclusion of a formal agreement on the subject of PW exchange 
would constitute de facto recognition of the Confederacy as a belliger- 
ent sovereign power, and this the Administration would not concede. 
It was not until the North became encumbered with, large numbers 
of Confederate captives following the successful Henry and Donelson 
campaign in Tennessee in 1862 that a serious attempt was made to 
resolve the prisoner of war situation. 

The Commissary General of Prisoners 

During the early months of the war Confederate prisoners for the 
most part were imprisoned in the coastal fortifications at New York 
and elsewhere. In October 1861, Lt. Col. (later Brevet Brig. Gen.) 
William Hoffman, 8th Infantry, was detailed for duty as Commissary 
General of Prisoners under the supervision of The Quartermaster Gen- 
eral, Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs. 1 General Meigs had the 
definite opinion that prisoners of war should not sit the war out in 
Northern prison, camps and instructed Hoffman : "As far as practicable 
they [prisoners of war] must be required to furnish their own clothing, 
and to provide themselves the means for this purpose they may be 
permitted to engage in any occupation which they can make profitable 
and which will not interfere with their safekeeping. . . " 2 But seem- 
ingly no action was taken on Meigs' instructions. 

As the war progressed into its second year, the number of Confed- 
erate prisoners in Union hands increased considerably. The forts 
along the eastern seaboard were no longer adequate to house the thou- 
sands of PW's taken in the successful western campaigns, and a num- 
ber of camps, which had been constructed as rendezvous for Volunteers, 
had to be stockaded and converted: into PW camps. These were 
located chiefly in relatively secure areas of the Middle West ; notably 
at Camp Douglas, Chicago, 111.; Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio; and 

'WD SO 2S4, 23 Oct 1861, par. 2 in The War of the, Rebellion: A, Compilation of the 
Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (hereafter cited as Official Records) 
(Washington, 1880-1901), ser. IT, vol. Ill, p. 121. 

^ Ltr, Moigs to Hoffman, 2(5 Oct 1861. IMd., pp. 1 22-23. 



a camp at Alton, 111. Later the Volunteer rendezvous at Elmira, N. Y., 
was converted into a PW camp. 

Because of the large number of prisoners of war held on both sides, 
a change also was made in the status of the Commissary General of 
Prisoners. In June 1862 this office was removed from the jurisdiction 
of The Quartermaster General, and Colonel Hoffman became subject 
only to orders of the War Department. 3 Early in October of the 
same year the headquarters of his bureau was transferred to Wash- 
ington. By 31 October 1862, the Commissary General, of Prisoners 
had direct charge of all Union prisoners of war released on limited 
parole in the North and supervised PW maintenance in all Northern 
internment camps.* 

Formal Exchange: The Dix-Hill Cartel 

In the meantime negotiations had begun between the Union and 
Confederate authorities relative to the exchange of PW's. Maj. Gen. 
John E. Wool, commander of the Federal garrison at Fort Monroe, 
and Maj. Gen Benjamin C. Huger, commanding the Confederate de- 
fenses of Norfolk, opened negotiations in June 1862 which were con- 
cluded by Maj. Gen. John A. Dix (representing the Union forces) 
and Maj. Gen. D. tl. Hill (representing the South). The negotiations 
between Dix and Hill resulted in the signing, on 22 July 1862, of a 
cartel governing the exchange of prisoners of war on both sides. 3 
The agreement consisted of seven articles and three supplementary 
articles, with a short preamble. The preamble carefully skirted the 
question of recognition, thus, "The undersigned having been com- 
missioned by the authorities they respectively represent to make ar- 
rangements for a general exchange of prisoners of war have agreed to 
the following articles." 

Article 1 contained a detailed scale of equivalents which were to be 
the basis for all exchanges : A commanding general or an admiral was 
rated as the equivalent of 60 privates or common seamen. This com- 
parative valuation extended to naval petty officers and noncommis- 
sioned officers in the Army and Marine Corps who were considered 
to be worth two privates or common seamen. Private soldiers and 
common seamen were to be exchanged for each other, man for man. 
This article also stipulated that the officers and men of privateers 
should be considered to be prisoners of war and not pirates. 

The second and third articles dealt with the problem of civilian 
prisoners. It was agreed in Article 2 that persons holding Militia 

3 WD GO 67, IT Jun 1862. Ibid., ser. II, vol. IV, p. 30. 

4 WD GO 153, 7 Oct 1862. JMA., p. 606; WD GO 176, 31 Oct 1862, par. I. Ibid., 
P. 671. 

5 The full test of the agreement is contained in a letter from Gen Dlx to S W Stanton, 
23 Jul 1802. JMA., pp. 260-268. The cartel was published for the information of the 
Army as WD GO 142, 25 Sep 1862. IMA, p. 555, 



rank were not to be held as military prisoners unless they were actually 
on active duty at the time of capture, while Article 3 stated that 
captured civilians could be exchanged only for persons of an equiva- 
lent status. The remaining articles dealt with the actual mechanics 
of parole and exchange, and the effect of the agreement upon the 
availability of the released PW's for further military service. 

The Dix-Hill Cartel was an agreement for the immediate parole 
and eventual exchange of all PW's. The character of the parole was 
in the nature of a quasi- exchange, per parolee, to be effected by a tally 
system with conversion to an actual exchange. It was not antici- 
pated, therefore, that large numbers of PW's would accumulate either 
in the Confederacy or in the North. If, for any reason, the continuous 
release of PW's should cease, no provision was made for the uniform 
treatment of captured soldiers while in the hands of the enemy. 

The lack of any agreement on this aspect of the prisoner of war, ques- 
tion caused much bitter recrimination on the part of both belligerents. 
Moreover, almost from the moment of signing, both the Federal and 
Confederate authorities evaded the stipulation in Article 8 that both 
sides should "carry out promptly, . . . and in good faith" the details 
of the agreement. At the time the cartel was signed (in the summer 
of 1862) the Union armies were in the midst of the disastrous Penin- 
sular campaign south and east of Richmond, which resulted in the 
South's capturing great numbers of Union prisoner's. Consequently 
the Federal Government was most anxious that the exact terms of the 
cartel bo carried out. But after the tide of war turned in 1863, the 
preponderance of prisoners was held by the No,rth, and the Confed- 
erates were then constantly pressing for the complete observance of the 
exchange agreement. 7 

Due to this mutual failure to observe the Dix-Hill exchange pact, 
both the North and the Confederacy were confronted with the problem 
of ever increasing numbers of prisoners of war who had to be fed, 
housed, and clothed. For the South it proved to be an impossible bur- 
den. The transportation system of the southern states, already 
strained to the breaking point in the effort to supply its armies, was 
unable to provide adequately for the additional thousands of PW's con- 
centrated in the Confederate prisons. Southern soldiers imprisoned 
in the North fared much better by comparison, although there was 
room for improvement. 8 Both in the North and South there was con- 
tinual agitation that the prisoners of war be used in some way to serve 
the ends of the captor, either militarily or economically. 

e H Ex Doc 20, 38th Cong., 2<3 sess., "Exchange of Prisoners," p. 2. 

1 Seo : The Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives' Made During the 
Third Session of the Fortieth Congress, 1860 (Washington, 1869), IV, pp. 294, 335-61 

s Official Records, ser. II, vol. VIII, pp. 387-51 ; E. Merton Coulter, The Confederate 
States of America, 1861-65 (Baton Rouge, 1950), pp. 476-78. 


The Military Recruitment of Prisoners of War 
Union Forces 

From an early date various sources pressured the War Department 
to permit the enlistment of PW's into the United States Army. In 
the international laws of war, according to the Lieber Code, it was 
unlawful to force enemy subjects into the military service; but am- 
bitious Volunteer officers, and even recruiting officers for the Kegular 
Army, were not above seeking permission to recruit among the Con- 
federate prisoners. 10 

The policy of enlisting prisoners of war into field units of the captor, 
although not prohibited to the captor state by the laws of war, was one 
fraught with danger for the enlistee. If captured again in battle by 
the forces of his state of origin, he was liable to be tried and executed 
for desertion. 11 

The policy of the administration wavered continually throughout 
the war between outright sanction of the recruiting of prisoners of 
war and entire prohibition. As the old regiments in the field became 
reduced through battle losses and disease, army commanders in the 
field clamored to recruit PW's for their depleted units. The War 
Department seemed unable to come to a definite decision and hold to 
it. As early as July 1862 Secretary Stanton wrote to the United 
States marshal in New York City "to visit and hold communication 
with the persons now held as prisoners of war at New York for the 
purpose of ascertaining whether any and how many of them are will- 
ing to enter the military service of the United States, and to make a 
report to this Department." 12 At the same time Maj. Gen. Benjamin 
F. Butler, who had recently captured New Orleans, energetically re- 
cruited for his regiments from among the PW's taken at the surrender 
of that city. The Confederate authorities complained that "scores of 

o In 1863 at the request of Pros Lincoln, Dr. Francis Lieber, a srecognized expert in the 
field of international law, prepared the "Instructions for the Government of Armies of 
the United States in the Field," which was promulgated to the Army as GO 100, 24 Apr 
1863, and which was known as the Lieber Code, This code is acknowledged as one of the 
classic documents of the laws of war and was the first codification of international law 
relative to PW's ever issued by a government as a directive to its armed forces in the 
field. Based on the Treaty of Berlin, it reiterated the duty of the captor to protect PW's. 
It also expressed certain obligations on the part of the PW's: (1) to work when required 
for the benefit of the captor (the work to he performed according to the PW's rank and 
condition) ; and (2) not to conspire to escape or rebel, See: Francis Weber, Guerilla 
Parties (New Yorlt, 1862) ; ,T, 13. Mason, "Gorman Prisoners of War in the United States,'' 
American Journal of International Law, XXXIV (Apr 45), p. 199; Thomas E. Holland, 
The Laws of War on Land (London, VMS), pp. 71-72; Flory, op. cit. r p. 18. 

10 For example, 228 Confederate prisoners enlisted in Col James A. Mulligan's 23d Illi- 
nois Regiment. See:, Hoffman to Thomas, 11 Oct 18G2. Official Records, ser, II, 
vol. IV, pp. 615-16. < 

"In late 1862 Gen Ben Butler complained that seven German residents of Louisiana 
who had enlisted in the 8th Vermont had been captured and executed as deserters by the 
Confederates. See: Ltr, Butler to Ilalleck, 14 Nov 1862. IMd., p. 708. 

la Ltr, Stanton to Robert Murray, U. S. Marshal, N, Y., 10 Jul 1862. J 6 id., pp, 1G2-63. 



them have been daily going over to the enemy and enlisting . . . until 
now there tire very few left . . . not in the ranks of the enemy." 13 

By the beginning of 1863, the Secretary of War had changed his 
mind as to the advisability of enlisting prisoners of war and even 
prohibited such enlistments. 14 But by spring the official attitude had 
changed again. Between May and August 1863 some 600 Confed- 
erate prisoners were enlisted by the 3d Maryland Cavalry and 1st 
Connecticut Cavalry Regiments from among the captives confined 
at Fort Delaware. But the practice was again prohibited by the 
Secretary of War on 21 August. 15 

The occupation of Tennessee and the establishment of a provi- 
sional government under Brig. Gen. Andrew Johnson brought de- 
mands that PW's, particularly those who had been conscripted into 
the Confederate army from the Unionist regions of East Tennessee, 
be permitted to join the Union armies. Maj. Gen. Ambrose E, Burn- 
side, the commanding general of the Department of the Ohio, whoso 
department included East Tennessee, wrote to Colonel Hoffman that 
"it would be very cruel and unjust to force these loyal East Tennessee 
conscripts back into the rebel ranks by exchange. . . ." He stated 
that he would be pleased "to have some arrangement made by which 
they could be released on taking the oath, or be allowed to enlist 
in . . . East Tennessee regiments." 16 Secretary Stanton almost at 
once decided to make an exception of these PW's who had been con- 
scripted into the Confederate service. General Burnside, Maj. Gen. 
John M. Schofield, commanding the Department of the Missouri, 
and General Johnson, the Military Governor of Tennessee, were 
authorized to accept "prisoners of Avar who have been impressed into 
the rebel service. . . ." 17 But again in August the Secretary directed 
that ". . . hereafter no prisoners of war be enlisted in our Army 
without his special sanction in each case," 18 a ruling that brought 
forth a strong protest from Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, com- 
manding the Department and Army of the Cumberland. He believed 
that possibly thousands of prisoners of war could be enlisted and 
that if each individual case had to be referred to Washington, recruit- 
ing would be materially impeded. Once again Stanton retreated and 
told Rosecrans to go ahead and enlist as many as he could, that ap- 

13 Ltr, Brig Gen J. K. Duncan, C. S. A. to Maj J. G. PicKett, 13 May 1862, Ihid., ser I, 
vol. VI, p. 535. 

IJ >Ltr, Hoffman to Col Christian Thlelcman, 25 Feb 1883, Col Tliieleman had written 
for permission to enlist PW's from Camp Douglas and elsewhere into his regiment. Ibid.j 
ser. II, vol. V, p. 297. 

15 Ltr, PMG Jas. B. Fry to S W Stanton, 27 Feb 1865. A resolution of the House of 
Representatives on 25 Feb 1865 called for information as to the number of Confederate 
prisoners of war recruited Into the Federal ranks. Ibid., sor. Ill, vol. IV, pp. 1203-04. 

10 Ltr, Burnside to Hoffman, 1G ■Tun 18t>3. Ihid., ser. II, vol, VI, p. 28, 

"Ltrs, Hoffman to Burnside, 20 Jun 1883 ; Hoffman to Sfihofleld, 23 Jun 1863 ; Fry to 
Johnson, 10 Jul 1863. IM&., ser. II, vol. VI, p. 31 ; ser. Ill, vol. Ill, p. 411, 482-83. 

18 Ltr, Hoffman to Maj Gen Win. S. Rosecrans, 20 Aug 1863. IUd., ser. Ill, vol III, 
p. 722. 



proval for such enlistments would be forthcoming' from Washington. 19 
In December another general clamored for permission to recruit 
prisoners of war. General Butler, then commanding at Fort Monroe, 
wrote, Stanton inquiring whether any objection would be voiced 
. . to my enlisting as many prisoners as may desire to do so 
after they know they can he exchanged [italics author's] either in the 
regular or volunteer forces of the United States or that of any 
State V 2I> On 2 January 1864, Lincoln wrote to Butler : "The Secre- 
tary of War and myself have concluded to discharge of the prisoners 
at Point Lookout the following classes : First Those who will take 
the oath prescribed in the proclamation of December 8, and, by the 
consent of General Marston, will enlist in our service." 21 Six days 
later Butler directed the commanding officer at Point Lookout, Md., 

Figure t. United States general depot for prisoners of war at Point Lookout, Md. 

to commence the enlistment of prisoners into either the Army or the 
Navy. General Butler entered the project with much energy, ap- 
parently expecting a considerable enlistment from among the PW's. 
This was, in fact, the most ambitious BW recruitment drive to be 
launched during the war. Each PW was interrogated alone, and 
if he expressed a desire to enlist, the oath of allegiance was adminis- 
tered at once. An officer from Butler's headquarters was detailed as 
recruiting officer, and an examining physician was appointed. 22 By 

:[n I'jtfgs, Koseerans to Hoffman, 28 Aug. 1868 ; Hoffman to Bosecrans, 29 Aug 186;-}, ma., 
pp. 735, 737, 738. 

»>I,It, Butler to Stanton, 27 Dec 1863. md., ser. II, vol. VI, p. 708. 
Si LLr, Lincoln to Butltjr, 2 Jan 18114. Ibid-., p. 808. 

»Ltr, Butler to Brig Gen G. Marston, Jan 1804. Ibid., P. 823. See also: IUd., 
p. 820. 



20 March, General Butler's efforts had succeeded to the extent that 
he petitioned the War Department for permission to muster his pris- 
oner of war recruits as a regimental organization. This permission 
was granted by The Provost Marshal General on the 24th, and Gen- 
eral Butler was requested to make nominations for officers in the new 
regiment. 23 Later two additional regiments were authorized. 

As the struggle continued and fewer men came forward as volun- 
teers, the State governors on whom fell the task of raising the State 
quotas, also began to cast eyes upon the manpower resources behind the 
PW stockades. Governor Oliver P. Morton of Indiana, an admin- 
istration stalwart, was particularly insistent in his demands; and the 
War Department found it difficult to refuse compliance. In Septem- 
ber 1863 Governor Morton requested permission to enlist "between 100 
and 200 Irish Catholics , . . who desire to enlist in the Thirty-fifth 
Irish Indiana Regiment." ' M On 19 September Stanton granted Mor- 
ton the authority to "release the 200 Confederate Catholics mentioned 
in your telegram, and the colonel of the Thirty-fifth Indiana is au- 
thorized to enlist and muster them into his regiment, but without 
premium, advance pay, or bounty." 25 

By 1864 the manpower shortage in the North had become even more 
acute. Many communities, unable to raise their quotas without a 
draft, suggested that recruits from the PW camps be enlisted and 
credited to the district, which would pay the regular enlistment bounty 
to such recruits. One such scheme was actually approved by Presi- 
dent Lincoln in September 1864. President Lincoln wrote: 

Executive Mansion, 
Washington, September 1, 1864. 
It is represented to me that there are at Rock Island, 111., as rebel prisoners 
of war, many persons of northern or foreign birth, who are unwilling to be 
exchanged and be sent South, but who wish to take the oath of allegiance and 
enter the military service of the Union. 

Colonel Huidekoper, on behalf of the people of some parts of Pennsylvania, 
wishes to pay the bounties the Government would have to pay to proper 
persons of this class, have them enter the service of the United States, and be 
credited to the localities furnishing the bounty money. He will therefore 
proceed to Rock Island, ascertain the names of such persons (not including 
any who have attractions southward), and telegraph them to the Provost- 
Marshal-General here, whereupon direction will be given to discharge the 
persons named upon their taking the oath of allegiance ; and then, upon the 
official evidence being furnished that they shall have been duly received and 

M LU', Fry to Butler, 24 Mar 1864. IMd., p. 1000. The Office of the Provost Marshal 
General was in charge of the overall recruitment program. Therefore, the recruitment 
of enemy PW's necessitated close cooperation with the Office of the Commissary General 
of Prisoners. See : Ibid., p. 257. See also : Legislative History of the General Staff of 
the Army of the United States (Its Organization, Duties, Pay, and Allowances), from 
1775 to ISO 1, complied by Maj Gen Henry C. Corbin and Raphael P. Thian (Washington, 
1001), pp. 667-70. 

^ Ltr, W. R. Holloway to Stanton, 3 Sep 1863, Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. Ill, p. 766, 
55 Ltr, Stan(on to Morton, 19 Sep 1863. Ibid., p. 824. 



mustered into the service of the United States, their number will be credited 
as may be directed by Colonel Huidekoper. 

Abraham Lincoln 


The bearer will present the list of names contemplated within. The Pro- 
vost-Marshal-General will please take the proper steps to have them exam- 
ined, mustered in, and discharged from prison, so as to be properly credited, 
all according to the within. 

A. Lincoln 28 

This action was so unusual that both President Lincoln and the 
Secretary of War thought it necessary to explain it to the command- 
ing general, Lt, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who had protested such recruit- 
ment. 27 Stanton on his side disclaimed any responsibility for the 
President's action, and sought Grant's advice as to what disposition 
to make of any recruits that might be raised in this manner. Grant 
replied the same day and advised that they be placed all in one regi- 
ment and sent either to New Mexico or placed on duty with General 
Pope. 28 

All in all, nearly 1,500 prisoners were enlisted and organized into 
three regiments known as the 1st, 2d, and 3d United States Volun- 
teers. 29 These three regiments and an additional regiment, recruited 
at Rock Island, 111., by direction of the President, were not used in 
direct contact with Confederate forces, but were sent to the frontier 
for essential service against the Indians. 30 This protected the former 
Confederate soldiers against falling into the hands of the Confederate 
authorities, and released veteran regiments serving on the frontier for 
service at the front. Two more regiments of prisoner volunteers were 
authorized early in 1865. 31 In all, six regiments of U. S. Volunteers 
were organized and sent to the western plains. Confederate prisoners 
of war were not a principal source of manpower for the northern 
armies for the total recruited was probably under 10,000, not a large 
number considering that during the war approximately 150,000 Con- 
federate soldiers were captured or surrendered to the loyal states. 32 

28 UM,, sor. Ill, vol. IV, p. 680. 

37 Ltr, Lincoln to Grsmt, 22 Sep 18G4. Ibid., p. 740. 

28 Ltrs, Stanton to Grant, 25 Sep 1864 i Grant to Stanton, 25 Sep 1864. IUd., p. 744. 

29 Ltr, Fry to Stanton, 27 Feb 1865. Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. IV, pp. 1203-04. 

30 Ibid. ; ltr, Grant to Stanton, 25 Sep 1864, Ibid., p. 744. 

"'■Ltrs,- Col B. D. Townsend to Maj Gen Joseph Hooker, 11 Mar 1865; Townsend to 
Maj Gen John Pope, 12 Mar 1865. IUd., pp. 1230, 1232. 

13 Official Records, ser. II, vol. VIII, p, 831. A total of 6,334 PW's were recruited for 

the military service as follows : 

Total . 6, 334 

Enlisted in 23d and 65th III. Vols 228 

Enlisted in 35th Ind. Vols. (Catholic) 200 

Enlisted in 3d Md, Cav 5gj 

Knlisted in 1st Conn. Cav 82 

Enlisted in 8lh Vt. Vols 7 

Enlisted in 1st U. S. Vols, (at Pt. Lookout, Md.) 1,105 

Footnote continued on following page, 
338293— 5a 4 



Confederate Forces 

Confederate officers made some effort to recruit Union prisoners of 
war, although such a program was not widespread. In November 1864 
the commanding officer- of the Confederate PW camp at Camp Law- 
ton, Ga., reported that 349 of his charges had enlisted in the Confeder- 
ate service. 33 At Camp Millen, Ga., Confederate officers came daily 
into the PW camp to solicit recruits, and a few hundred joined with 
them. 31 A Federal prisoner of war reported, probably with great ex- 
aggeration, that 2,000 at Belle Isle joined the Conferedate arm. 85 
Undoubtedly many of these "galvanized Yankees" 38 were foreigners, 
who cared little for either belligerent, and others who took the oath 
as a means of freedom and escape northward. About a thousand 
captured Irish Catholics took the oath of loyalty and joined the Con- 
federate army, but at the first opportunity all deserted. A Confeder- 
ate Catholic suggested later that the oath could be made to hold if 
such prisoners of war swore it before a Catholic priest. 37 

In general the Confederate War Department was reluctant to fill 
its ranks with former enemies. In the fall of 1864, Maj. Gen. Samuel 
Jones requested that Gen. Braxton Bragg permit him to recruit among 
the Federal prisoners of war confined at Charleston, S. C. General 
Bragg's letter to the Confederate War Department was indorsed by 
the Confederate Secretary of War, James A. Scddon, as follows : "A 
battalion or two might be formed, of the foreigners — the Yankees are 
not to be trusted so far, or at all. " 3S 

PW's as Instruments of Retaliation 

The problem of what to do with the thousands of captives became 
acute after the breakdown of the exchange agreement. The major 
solution — to do nothing but let them accumulate in prison camps — was 
apparently the result of fear of reprisals; and on several occasions 
reprisals were resorted to by both sides to exact concessions. 

Footnote continued from preceding page. 

Enlisted in 2d U. S. Vols, (at Pt Lookout, Md.) 379 

Enlisted from Hock Island, III.', Sep-Oct 64 1, 797 

Enlisted from Rock Island, 111,, 1 Jan-20 Oct 05 1, 955 

See : Official Records, ser. II, vol. IV, pp. 615-16 ; ser. Ill, vol. Ill, p. 824 ; ser. III, vol. 
IV, pp. 1203-04 ; ser. II, vol. IV, p, 708 ; ser. II, vol. VII, p. 1245 ; ser. Ill, vol. V, p. 552, 
A somewhat lower estimate (5,452) is found in Hit Rpt 45, 40th Cong., 3d sess., "Report 
on the Treatment of Prisoners of War by the Rebel Authorities During the War of the 
Rebellion," p. 229. 

a"Ltr, Capt D. W. Vowles to C. O., C. S. A., Mil. Prison, Camp Lawton, Ga., 8 Nov 18G4. 
nid., ser, II, vol. VIT, pp. 1113-14. A total of 3,170 such enlistments are reported in 
HR Rpt 45, op. Git. 

3i Asa B. Isham and Others, Prisoners of War and Military Prisons (Cincinnati, 1890), 
pp. 365-69. 

36 Coulter, op. cit., p. 473. 

M One who tool; the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. 
3T Coulter, op. cit., p. 473. 

™Lti', Jones to Bragg, 13 Sep 1864. Official Records, ser. II, vol. VII, pp. 821-22. 



When the Federal Government began to raise Negro regiments, the 
South regarded the action with something akin to horror. The Con- 
federacy interpreted it as a move to incite a servile insurrection among 
the slave population of the seceding states and announced that Negroes 
captured in arms would not be considered as prisoners of war. In 
retaliation the President issued a proclamation on 30 July 1863 
ordering : 

. . . that for every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the 
laws of war a rebel soldier shall be executed, and for every one enslaved by 
the enemy or sold into slavery a rebel soldier shall be placed at hard labor on 
the public works and continued at such labor until the other shall be released 
and receive the treatment due to a prisoner of war. 80 

This was, almost without exception, the official administration policy 
throughout the war : prisoners of war were to be forced to labor only 
as an instrument of reprisal against some act of the enemy. 

In July 1863 when Maj. Gen. Robert C. Schenck requested permis- 
sion to use prisoners of war as laborers on the fortifications of Balti- 
more, General Halleck, the General in Chief, refused on the grounds 
that no instance was known in which the enemy had compelled pris- 
oners to work on fortifications. 40 The decision was made despite the 
Lieber Code provision that PWs might be required to work for the 
benefit of the captor, and despite the lack of prohibition against em- 
ploying the prisoners on work connected with military installations. 41 
General Halleck appeared to have considered the use of PW labor 
only from the aspect of retaliation. 

Maj. Gen. (later Gen.) William T. Sherman, on finding his approach 
to Savannah heavily laid with torpedoes (the Civil War equivalent of 
land mines), stated that "this was not war, but murder. . . ." aa In 
retaliation, he used prisoners of war to remove the torpedoes. 

The labor shortage was more sharply felt in the South than in the 
North, and it was perhaps as a result of pressing need that the Con- 
federacy adopted a policy of employing captured Negro soldiers on 
various public works, particularly in building fortifications. In Oc- 
tober 1864, Federal officials noted that the Confederacy was employing 
upward of 100 Negro prisoners of war in the trenches. General Grant 
at once authorized a like number of Confederate PWs to be put to 
work, under the fire of their own artillery, on a canal that was being 
dug across a neck of the J aines River. This prompt retaliation caused 

38 WD GO 252, 31 Jul 1863. lUd., ser. II, vol, VI, p. 163; Reports of . , . Third Ses- 
sion of the Fortieth Congress, 1869, pp. 284-85, 461. 

40 Ltrs, Schenck to Halleck, 6 Jul 1863 ; Hallcek to Schenck, Jul 1863. Official Records, 
sor. II, vol. VI, p. 85. 

11 Lieber Code, art. 76. 

ia William T. Sherman, Personal Memoirs of Gen. W. T. Sherman (3d ed. ; New York, 
1890}, II, p. 194. 


the Confederates to withdraw the Union PWs at once. 43 At Mobile, 
Ala., more than 800 captured Negro soldiers were employed on the 
fortifications, an act that caused Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, the com- 
mander of the United States forces in west Florida and southern Ala- 
bama, to assign a similar number of Confederate prisoners to work on 
Union defenses. 44 

Prisoner of War Labor 

The Federal Government 

Generally speaking, the North was reluctant to use prisoner of Avar 
labor, and almost without exception, the PWs were idly confined in 
stockades. 45 The loudest dissenting voice to this policy of enforced 
idleness was that of The Quartermaster General, General Meigs, who 
as early as 1861 instructed the Commissary General of Prisoners to 
make the Confederate prisoners earn their keep. Although his early 
advice was not followed, General Meigs continued to insist that much 
useful work could be obtained from the prisoners. While on a tour 
of inspection in the western theater of operations in November 1863, 
he wrote General Halleck that to transport the numerous prisoners 
of war in that area to a safe place would involve the Government in 
considerable expense. He therefore proposed that they be used to 
the advantage of the Government ". . .in building bridges, repairing 
railroads which they have destroyed, and in handling stores, forage, 
and subsistence. . . ." To this General Meigs received the blunt reply 
that ". . . it is not deemed expedient to employ prisoners of war on 
public works or as laborers." 4G 

General Meigs then consulted Dr. Francis Lieber, the international 
expert, wdio had drawn up the code for the conduct of the armies in 
the field. 47 Dr. Lieber stated that all European precedent favored the 
employment of prisoners of war on public works. "Prisoners of war 
are universally set to work, whenever work can be found," he wrote. 
"... I have not the least hesitation in saying that a European com- 

"Ltrs, Maj Gen Butler to Robt. Ould, 4 Oct 1864 ; Grant to Butler, 12 Oct 1864 ; Butler 
to Ould, 12 Oct 1864 ; Grant to Butler,' 20 Oct 1864 ; Butler to Grant, 20 Oct 1864 ; Grant 
to Lee, 20 Oct 1864. Official Records, ser. II, vol. VII, pp. 922, 967-09, 1015-16, 1018. 
See also : Reports of . . . Third Session of the Fortieth Congress, J869, pp. 363, 562. 

^Ltrs, Maj Gen K. A. Hitchcock to Stanton, 22 Nov 1865; Lt Gen Richard Taylor 
(C. S. A.) to Maj Gen D. IT. Maury, 6 Mar 1865. Ibid., ser. II, vol. VIII, pp. 361-62, 

Some Confederate prisoners claimed they were compelled to unload Federal vessels 
and to erect buildings for Federal officers. If they refused, they said, they were driven to 
work with, clubs. See : Official Records, ser. II, vol. VIII, p. 347. Another Confederate 
prisoner at Point Lookout, Md., stated that some prisoners (artisans or mechanics) were 
employed without pay. See: Luther W. Hopkins, From Bull Run to Appomattox (Balti- 
more, 1908), pp. 160-80, and Henry Steele Commager (ed.), The Blue and the Gray 
(Indianapolis, 1950), II, p. 696, 

"Ltrs, Meigs to Halleck, 28 Nov 1863, and Halleck to Meigs, 2 Bee 1863. Official 
Records, ser. II, vol. VI, pp. 589, G32. 

^Ltr, Meigs to Lieber, 22 Jan 1864. Ibid., pp. 863-04. 



mander who should be proved to have neglected to use prisoners for 
such work or for repairing bridges or railroads or for fetching sup- 
plies . . . would be cashiered." 48 . 

However, Dr. Lieber and General Meigs were too far advanced for 
the rest of the Army, and all that was accomplished with PW labor 
except for retaliation instances was the construction of a sewer and 
waterworks at the Rock Island, 111., prison and a drainage ditch at 
Elmira, N". Y. 4fl The project at Rock Island resulted in the estab- 
lishment of a regular system for PW employment on public works 
and showed what might have been accomplished had The Quarter- 
master General been given full authority to act on his ideas. 

As a result, on 13 June the Commissary General of Prisoners 
issued a circular with the approval of the Secretary of War that de- 
fined the conditions of such employment. 50 The circular established 
the pay rate at 10 cents per day for skilled PW laborers and 5 cents 
per day for unskilled PW labor. Moreover, this sum was not to be 
paid directly to the prisoner but was to be deposited to his credit 
with the post commandant or with other officers charged with han- 
dling PW funds. With his pay the prisoner could purchase food and 
tobacco. Finally, the circular specified that a significantly higher 
ration be issued to a PW engaged in manual labor than that issued 
to idle prisoners. 51 

The Confederacy 

Captured white and Negro soldiers were accorded different treat- 
ment by Confederate officials. The whites were placed, for the most 
part, in idle confinement at such prisons as Libby and Anderson ville. 
The Negro soldiers, on the other hand, were seldom imprisoned but 
were distributed among the citizens or employed on government works. 
"Under these circumstances they recei ve enough to eat, and are worked 
no harder than accustomed to." 52 

Although there are isolated instances of where the Confederacy 
used the labor of white prisoners of war, there is no indication that 
any large-scale attempt was made to utilize the thousands confined in 
their stockades. As early as September 1861, the Confederate Govern- 
ment considered working PW's, or at least approved of their use. In 
the words of Jefferson Davis : "They might as well work as they have 
to be fed." 33 

4S Ltr, Lieber to M<fi&s, 24 Jan 1864. Ibid., pp. 868-71. 

1!l Ltrs, Capt C. A. Reynolds to Col A. ,T. Johnson, 20 May 1864; and Hoffman to Col 
B\ F. Tracy, 23 Oct 1864. Ibid., ser, II, vol. VII, pp. 180-81, 1025. 

m Ltr, Reynolds to Johnson, 30 May 1864, w/inds, Johnson, Hoffman, and Halleck. 
IMA., ser, II, vol. Ill, pp. 180-81. . 

11 OCGP Circ 3, 13 Jun 1864. Did., aei'.' II, vol, VII, pp. 366-67. 

5a Ltr, Col J. B, Dorr and others to Lincoln, 14 Aug 1.864 in H Ex Doc 32, 38th Cong., 
2d sgss., "Exchange of Vrisoners," pp. 80-81. 
M Reports of ... , Third Session of the Fortieth Congress, I860, pp. 288, 383, 



PW labor was used for details connected with the internment camps. 
For instance, at Camp Sorgum, S. C, 100 prisoners at a time were 
allowed to go into the woods on parole to fell trees, which were used 
in the construction of the camp. At Salisbury, N. C, the PWs dug 
wells for a water supply; and at Andersonville, Ga., the PWs were 
used to expand the camp. Ci 

A sprinkling of PW ? s chose to take the oath of allegiance to the Con- 
federacy and work in factories and at other skilled trades. Now and 
then a prisoner was paroled to live outside the prison and to work at 
some skilled trade. 65 At Eichmond in early 1863, 200 Union prisoners 
took the oath, of allegiance to the Confederacy and began working at 
$2 a day, 60 of them at the Tredegar Iron Works. 50 

By 1864 the shortage of skilled labor in the Confederacy led au- 
thorities to consider the use of prisoner of war labor in the manufac- 
ture of military supplies. An attempt was made to establish a shoe 
factory at the Andersonville, Ga., prison, but the effort apparently 
failed because of the difficulty in procuring necessary tools and equip- 
ment. 07 However, citizens not connected with the military establish- 
ment could employ the PWs at Andersonville. A general order issued 
in June 1864 stipulated that persons wishing to employ PWs had to 
state in their application the particular work to be done. The post 
commander then had to approve it in writing. 58 Moreover, manufac- 
turers of vital war materials were permitted to recruit volunteer labor 
from among the prisoners. One PW reported that at Columbia, S. C, 
inducements of good wages, plenty of food and clothing, and the free- 
dom of the place were tendered to any prisoner who would work in a 
Confederate arms factory. 59 

The Cessation of Hostilities 

The surrender of Gen. Eobert E. Lee to Gen. U. S. Grant on 9 April 
1865 established a policy whereby the bulk of the Confederate army 
was free to return to their homes. Under the terms of the Appomat- 
tox surrender the officers gave their paroles not to take up arms until 
properly exchanged and each company or regimental commander 
signed a like parole for the men of his command. The officers were 
allowed to keep their side arms, their private horses, and their bag- 
gage, and were to " . . . be allowed to return to their homes, not to 

"Isham, op. cit., pp. 76, 238-39, 433; Mai John Chester White (V. S. A. -Ret.), "Mili- 
tary Prisons: North and South," Civil War an-d Miscellaneous Papers (Boston, 1918), 
pp. 169-71. 

BB Reports of . . . Third Session of the Fortieth Congress, 1869, p. 1.85. 
69 Coulter, op. cit., p. 473. 

6 'Ltr, Capt R. B. Winder to Maj Win. R. B. Cross, 30 May 1864, Official Hecords, ser, 
II, vol. VII, pp. 181-82. 

™ GO 40, Hq. Post, Andersonville, Ga., 8 Jim 1864. Ibid., p. 215, 
50 Isham, op, cit, pp. 84-85. 



be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their 
paroles and the laws in force where they may reside." 00 On 17 April 
1865, Generals Thomas and Canby were authorized to give the same 
terms to Confederate forces in the west and south. 61 Altogether 
174,223 Confederate prisoners of war were released on parole/ 1 * 

The PW's in confinement were released by stages. Early in May 
1865, those prisoners below the rank of colonel who had signified a 
desire to take the oath of allegiance before the fall of Richmond were 
released on parole. 03 According to General Hoffman, the Commis- 
sary General of Prisoners, at the time of the surrender over 50,000 
prisoners of war plus 5,000 Confederate officers were confined in 17 
military prisons. He wanted at least 50 of them below' the rank of 
general discharged daily, and his views seemingly are reflected in 
President Lincoln's Proclamation of Amnesty." In the proclama- 
tion, President Lincoln stated that all officers, except those with a 
rank above colonel in the Army and lieutenant in the Navy, could be 
discharged upon taking the oath of allegiance. 05 

However, when the release order appeared on 6 June 1865, it al- 
lowed the following: (1) the discharge of all enlisted men of the 
Army and petty officers and seamen of the Navy upon taking the oath 
of all egiance; (2) the discharge of all officers, captain or lower, in 
the Army or below lieutenant in the Navy, provided they were not 
graduates of the U. S. Military or Naval Academies, and if they took 
the oath of allegiance ; (3) as many as possible to be discharged daily ; 
and (4) The Quartermaster General to furnish transportation to the 
point nearest the prisoners' homes, either by rail or by steamboat. 66 

This order remained in effect until July 1865, at which time the 
President of the United States ordered the release of all prisoners of 
vrar except those captured with Jefferson Davis. The released PW's 
had to take the oath of allegiance and to give a good behavior parole. 67 
Thus, out of 96,408 prisoners of war captured and confined by the 
Union Army, only 6 remained as of 20 October 1865. 0S 

To summarize briefly, in the Civil War both sides were crippled 
by a shortage of manpower, yet both sides overlooked the vast labor 
pool offered by idle prisoners of war. Some were used to a limited 
extent, but animosity toward the opposing belligerent excluded any 

m Ltr, Grant to Lee, 9 Apr 1865. Official Records, ser, I, vol. XLVT, p. 

^IMd., ser. I, vol. XLIX, pt. II, pp. 37G, 383 ; ser. II, vol. VIII, pp. 496, 499, 529. 

02 Ltr, Stanton to Lincoln, 22 Nov 1865. JMd,, ser. II, vol. Ill, p. 811. 

81 WD GO 85, 8 May 1865. 

^Ltr, Brevet Brig Gen Hoffman, to TA Gen U. S. Grant, 31 May 1805. Official Record.% 
ser, II, vol. Ill, p. 585. 
« Ibid., pp. 578-79. 
« WD GO 108, 6 Jun 1865. 

"Ltr, E, D, Towiisend", to Brig Gen Hoffman, 20 Jul 1865. Official Records, ser. II, vol. 
VIII, pp. 709-10. 

os "Consolidated Statement of Prisoners of War from January 1 to October 20, 1865." 
Official Records, ser. II, vol. VIII, pp. 770-71. 



widespread employment. Consequently the majority of prisoners on 
both sides spent their confinement in enforced idleness. The South, 
of a necessity, used PW labor more than did the North. The one 
Northern experiment, at Rock Island, 111., clearly indicated the value 
that PWs might have had if properly utilized. 


Chapter 4 
The Spanish-American War 

The years following the Civil War marked a period of reconstruc- 
tion and expansion. The growth of population and the movement 
westward brought about a series of clashes between United States 
military forces and different Indian tribes. Prisoners of war taken in 
these conflicts were few, yet their experiences were similar to those 
suffered by American troops during the mid-20th century Korean 
conflict. Captured troops were usually tortured or were put to death ; 
some were held for ransom or as hostages. And the Indians were 
treated in much the same way by the American troops. 

The First Prewar PW Planning 

As the 19th century drew to a close, American relations with Spain 
were becoming more strained and resulted in a declaration of war 
on 25 April 1898. 1 The Spanish- American War was of such short 
duration, that it could scarcely be called a war — hostilities lasted only 
approximately three months. But the war is important to the prisoner 
of war utilization program, not because of the number of prisoners 
captured nor of their utilization, but because it represents the first time 
that a PW program was formulated in advance of the capture of the 

While Maj, Gen. William Shaffer's forces were besieging the city 
of Santiago, Maj. Gen. Nelson A. Miles, Commanding General of 
the Army, proposed an overall plan to terminate hostilities oh Cuba. 
General Miles' plan was to march General Shafter's forces, after the 
capture of the district of Santiago de Cuba, through rolling country 
(which was reported free of yellow fever) to Poron and Taguagabo 
and then to Villa Clara on the northern coast of Cuba. His objective 

1 For an account of the growing tension between the United States and Spain and tlio 
outbreak of war, see : Kreldberg and Henry, op. eit. r pp. 210-11. 




was to secure some deep-water harbors so that new troops could be 
disembarked to conduct a campaign into the interior. 3 

In formulating his plan, General Miles figured that "several thou- 
sand prisoners" would be taken with the capture of Santiago de Cuba 
and that the capture of Puerto Rico, a second objective position then 
under consideration, would add at least 30,000 more prisoners of war. 
Realizing the lack of adequate roads, which were necessary to support 
such an operation, he proposed that the prisoners of war be used to 
"build the road as they go at the rate of 5 miles per day as that army 
corps marches. . . ." In supporting his proposal he stated : 

I make this suggestion as having three advantages : First we could employ 
at reasonable compensation such prisoners as desired occupation in road 
building; second, we could move into the interior of Cuba our large cavalry 
command without serious molestation ; third, we would he operating during 
the rainy or sickly season in the most healthful parts of Cuba. . . . 

Before reaching Villa Clara we would undoubtedly have upward of 
50,000 prisoners, and if we could, by judicious humane treatment, use them 
in a way that would be advantageous to themselves and to our interests, 
I think it would be advisable. 3 

General Miles advised further against evacuating the prisoners to U. S. 
Army camps or the United States for fear of infecting the American 
populace with disease. The War Department, however, disapproved 
of General Miles' plan * and ordered him to organize an expedition 
for "movement and operation against the enemy in Cuba and Porto 
Rico." 5 The proposed pi an remains, nevertheless, the first instance of 
PW planning prior to capture by TJ. S. forces. 

Meanwhile, during the first attack on Santiago early in July, very 
few Spanish troops were captured. Those taken were surprised at the 
humane treatment they received. Later, approximately one hundred 
surrendered voluntarily. There was little opportunity to employ them 
as a labor force, although one United States soldier, in showing some 
of the prisoners to his regiment, referred to them as "dandy kitchen 
police." 6 A few were used in a local exchange to regain the release 
of some American sailors who had fallen into the hands of the 
Spanish. 7 On 17 July 1898, the entire Spanish force in the Santiago 
de Cuba district (approximately 24,000) surrendered on terms that 

a "Report of the Secretary of War, Miscellaneous Reports," Annual Reports of the War 
Department, 1808, p. 25, 
a Ibid., pp. 25-26. 
*IMd., p. 0G. 

G S Doc 221, 56th Cong., 1st sess., "Report of the Commission Appointed by the President 
to Investigate the Conduct of the War Department in the War with "Spain," hereafter cited 
as "Report on Conduct of the War," I, p. 248. 

The Santiago Campaign (Richmond, Va., 1927), pp. 75, 358. 

7 "Report on Conduct of the War," I, p. 323. Gen Miles later stated that during the 
Spanish -American war "not a [U. S. Army] prisoner, color, gun, or rifle has been captured 
by the enemy." See : "Report of the Secretary of War, Miscellaneous Reports," Annual 
Reports of the War Department, 1898, j>. 31. 



included parole and the earliest possible return to Spain at the ex- 
pense of the United States. The surrendered troops were disarmed, 
with the exception of the Spanish officers who were allowed to retain 
their sidearms, and were isolated in separate camps from the Amer- 
ican troops for fear of yellow fever. 8 

After the surrender of Santiago de Cuba, an expedition under 
General Miles sailed for Puerto Rico to reinforce the troops fighting 
there. On 13 August word was received of the sighing of the peace 
protocol, setting forth the same conditions of surrender as had ap- 
plied in Cuba. 9 

Meanwhile, after Rear Adm. George Dewey had defeated the 
Spanish fleet in the Pacific, the War Department dispatched an ex- 
pedition to the Philippines under the command of Maj. Gen. Wesley 
Merritt. 10 On 13 August Manila, the capital city, fell and approxi- 
mately 13,000 prisoners of war were taken into U. S. custody. 11 

The agreement concluded between General Merritt and His Excel- 
lency Don Fermin Jaudenes, acting general in chief of Spanish troops 
in the Philippines, included the following: (1) all prisoners, other 
than officers, would surrender their arms and would remain under 
control of their officers and in quarters designated by U. S. forces 
"until the conclusion of a treaty of peace between the two belligerent 
nations",- (2) all officers and men in captivity were to be supplied by 
the United States, according to rank, with rations and necessary aid 
"as though they were prisoners of war" until the conclusion of a peace 
treaty. 12 The Spanish soldiers were quickly brought in from the 
intrenchments surrounding Manila, formed into regiments, and dis- 
armed. They were kept in the walled portion of the city where for 
the most part they occupied its churches and convents. Word, soon 
arrived of the peace protocol and the Spanish soldiers, except those 
who chose to remain, were repatriated to Spain. 

Repatriation of the Spanish prisoners of war was done as quickly 
as possible. By 17 September 1898, all prisoners of war had been 
evacuated from Cuba except a few yellow fever patients and a small 
number of soldiers who elected to reside on the island. All Spanish 
troops were evacuated from Puerto Rico by October 1898, but because 

8 "Report o( the Secretary of War, Miscellaneous Reports," Annual Reports of the War 
Department, 1.808, pp. 31., 33-34, 60; Art. VI, Treaty of Paris, 10 Dec 1898, in Treaties, 
Conventions, International Acts . . ., op. Git,, p. 1692. 

"See: "Report of the Secretary of War, Miscellaneous Reports," Annual Reports of. the 
War Department, 18f>8, p. 139. 

w lbid., pp. 5-6. The expedition to 'the Philippines was not a part of any prior pian of 
campaign tliat the War Department may have considered. See : The R. 0. T. G. Manual 
Advance Course For All Arms (Harrishurg, 1941}, p. 159. 

w "Eeport of the Secretary of War, Miscellaneous Reports," A nnual Reports of the War 
Department, .1.893, pp. 5-6. 

13 J6itf v p. 55. 



of the distance involved and the native insurrections, the evacuation 
of the Spanish from the Philippines lasted until 1900. 13 

The Philippine Insurrection 

The surrender of the Spanish forces in the Philippines did not result 
in peace for the occupying United States forces. The next few years 
were marked with 2,811 contacts with Filipino insurrectionists, rang- 
ing from minor skirmishes to small-scale actions. During these en- 
gagements prisoners of war were taken. These were imprisoned but 
were treated humanely and with kindness. 1 ' 1 Many were released as a 
result of a proclamation of amnesty on 1 April 1900 and after taking 
the following oath of allegiance : "I hereby renounce all allegiance to 
any and all so-called revolutionary governments in the Philippine 
Islands and recognize and accept the supreme authority of the United 
States therein. . . ." 15 Some who continued to defy authority were 
deported to Guam. These included 50 prominent Filipino insurgent 
army officers, civil officials, insurgent agents, sympathizers, and 
agitators. 16 

During the spring of 1900, General Emilio Aguinaldo, the leader of 
the insurrectionists, was captured and voluntarily ascribed to the oath 
of allegiance. In a proclamation to the Philippine people, he urged 
the termination of hostilities against the United States. Guerrilla 
activities continued, however, until April 1902 at which time Malvar, 
the last important insurgent leader on Luzon, surrendered along with 
eight to ten thousand troops. On 4 July 1902, the President of the 
United States issued a proclamation of peace and amnesty for all ex- 
cept those convicted of murder, rape, arson, and other serious crimes. 17 
Thus ended the organized native resistance in the Philippine Islands. 

13 The cost of repatriating the Spanish from the Philippines ivas $908,583.75. See: 
"Reports of the Secretary of War," Annual Reports of the War Department, 1899-1903, 
p. 15. See also : Frederick Louis Huideljoper, The Military Vnpreparedness of the United 
States (New YorlE, 1815), p. 239. 

14 "Reports of the Secretary of War," Annual Reports of the War Department, 1899-1903, 
pp. 14, 261. See also : Annual Reports of the War Department, June 30, 1899, p. 138. 

« "Reports of the Secretary of War," "Annual Reports of the War Department, 1899-190S, 
pp. 101-02. 

w IUd., p. 173, 

" ma., pp. 173, 256-57. 

Chapter 5 

Prisoner of War Employmenf During World War I 

Modern warfare with its great demand for manpower to support 
large field armies and essential war industries places a premium on 
the labor supply of all belligerents. Consequently, the labor potential 
offered by prisoners of war influenced policy making during World 
Wars I and II. To exchange PW's would hare given the enemy 
workers for essential industrial plants, even though they might be 
forbidden to reengage in actual hostilities. Therefore only limited 
exchanges were made, and World Wars I and II were characterized 
by an emphasis on the use of prisoners of war as a labor force. 

Pre-World War I Planning 

The Hague Conventions 

At the invitation of Czar Nicholas II of Russia, representatives of 
26 powers of Europe, Asia, and America assembled at The Hague on 
18 May 1899 to define the laws of warfare. Twenty-four of the nations, . 
including the United States, adopted and ratified the "Hague Conven- 
tion of 1899 Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land." This 
was the first time an agreement of such nature had been ratified by 
so many nations. With respect to prisoners of war, the agreement out- 
lined the duties of both the captor and the prisoner. One article in 
particular, Article VI, had a definite effect on the prisoner of war 
employment program. It provided that the captor state could employ 
prisoners of war, thereby announcing a principle that had already been 
practiced by many countries. 1 

In 1907, the powers again gathered at The Hague to correct certain 
deficiencies that appeared in the 1899 convention. The program 
adopted contained the same provisions for prisoners of war as did 
the earlier convention. However, the Hague Convention of 1907 in- 
cluded an article which subsequently affected the belligerents during 
World War I. Article II declared that the respective conventions 
would only apply between contracting parties, and then only if all the 
belligerents were parties to the convention. Because of this the Treaty 
of Prussia of 1785 with its later amendments became the only effec- 

1 Ifooks, op. cit., pp. 17, 208. 




tive agreement during World War I that obligated Germany and the 
United States with respect to prisoners of war. 2 Two of the bel- 
ligerents in World War I, Montenegro and Serbia, did not sign the 
Hague conventions. 3 Nevertheless, during the war, the United States 
complied fully with the provisions of the Hague Convention of 1907. 

Early U. S. Regulations 

For 15 years following the Spanish -American War, only U. S. 
planning for prisoners of war was the incorporation of general pro- 
visions for capture and treatment (as required by the Hague conven- 
tions) into the U. S. "Rules of I^and Warfare" and Army "Field Reg- 
ulations." However, the threat of war in Europe in 1913 motivated the 
War College Division (WCD) of the Office of the Chief of Staff to 
prepare a set of "general rules for the government and control of 
prisoners of war." These were incorporated into a proposed general 
order in case the United States should become involved in the hostili- 
ties. Primarily, they were designed to guide officers concerned with 
or designated to command internment camps. 4 

The proposed order authorized the employment of prisoners of war 
on any military or public project not having a direct connection with 
military operations. Private employment of the PW's, both by cor- 
porations and individuals, was also authorized, as was the use of the 
prisoners to maintain themselves — but certain requirements had to be 
fulfilled. The work had to benefit the PW's morale and physical wel- 
fare and had to be of benefit to the public ; it had to be suitable to the 
PW's rank and work capacity ; and the PW had to be paid a reasonable 
wage. The order also charged the commandants of internment camps 
to " . . . prescribe such other and further rules for the good order 
and discipline of the prisoners of war, interned and under their con- 
trol, as may be necessary." Supplemental rules had to be consistent 
with the "Rules of Land Warfare" as published for the armies of the 
United States. 

Although certain suggestions made by the Office of The Judge Ad- 
vocate General were incorporated, the order was never published. 
During this time, military operations were being conducted along the 
Mexican border, and captives were commonly alluded to as "interned 
prisoners." The exact status of these prisoners was not clear, and to 
grant them the status of prisoners of war might have raised serious 

3 Hague Convention, 1907, "Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on 
Land" ; Art. II, Hague Convention, 1899, "Convention with Respect to the Laws and 
Customs of War on Land" ; see also : Malloy, vp. oit., pp. 2046, 2277. 

3 Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States pp. 7, 48-49; 

Flory, op. cit., p. 22, 

'Memo, Ch, WCD, to CofS, 29 May 14. WCD 8580-1. Records of the War Department 
General Staff (WDGS). National Archives. A copy of the proposed general order is in 
author's file. 



political questions which the United States desired to avoid. There- 
fore, the Secretary of War directed that the proposed order not be 
published at this time. 5 

Copies of the proposed order were sent in March 1915 to the Amer- 
ican military attaches at London, Vienna, Paris, Berlin, The Hague, 
Rome, Tokyo, Petrograd, and Bern, with instructions to compare 
the rules pertaining to prisoners of war with those in force in these 
respective countries. The attaches were to obtain copies of these 
foreign rules for the Chief of Staff. 6 Prisoner of war planning in 
the United States rested at this stage until the following year. 

Army-Navy PW Agreement, 1916 

In July 1916, the Secretary of the Navy proposed that the Army 
accept custody of all prisoners of war captured by naval forces and 
suggested further that the Army detail an officer to cooperate with 
a naval representative in formulating plans and regulations to effect 
such transfers. The Army agreed, and Secretary of War Newton D. 
Baker designated Col. C. W. Kennedy of the General Staff, War Col- 
lege Division, for the task. 7 Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels 
designated Lt. Comclr. Adolphus Staton, 8 

In the course of the planning, three important questions arose. 
Specifically they were — 

(a) Will the War Department take charge of prisoners of all classes cap- 
tured or arrested by any agency of our government in time of war? 

* * * ![i ^ 

(b) If other departments of the government are to have charge of non- 
military prisoners, will the War Department have permanent charge 
of all prisoners of military status whether captured by the Army or 

* * * . * * 

(c) What special bureau or branch of the War Department will have gen- 
eral charge of prisoners of war ? " 

Since a search of current European practices revealed that each 
country adopted plans best suited to its own conditions and since a 
survey of American practices in past wars revealed but little, Colonel 

"Memo, See, OS, to CIi, WCD, 10 Sep 14, sub: Proposed rules on government and the 
control of prisoners of war interned by the United States. WCD 8580-3. Records of 
WDGS. National Archives; J. Fred Rippy, The United States and Mexico (Kev. od. ; New 
York, 1931), pp. 349-58. 

« Ltr, See WCD, to US Mil. Attaches at London, etc., 23 Mar 15, sub : Interned Prisoners 
of War. WCD 8580-4. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 

7 Memo, WCD for CofS, 24 Jul 16, sulj : Disposition to be made of Naval Prisoners of 
War. WCD 8580-B. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 

* Comdr Staton was later replaced by Comrlr Raymond Stone. Sec : Ltr, Sec of Navy 
to SW, 2 Aug 16. WCD 8580-7; ltr, Sec of Navy to SW, ' 29 Sep 1C. WCD 8580-10. 
Records of WDGS. National Archives. 

fMemo, Col C. W. Kennedy for CofS, 27 Sep 16, sub: Transfer of prisoners of war 
from the custody of the Navy Dept to the War Dept. WCD 8580-8, Records of WDGS. 
National Archives. 



Kennedy referred the questions to The Judge Advocate General and 
the Chief of Staff. 10 

Both The .Judge Advocate General and the War College Division 
concluded that the War Department should take charge of prisoners 
of all classes captured or arrested by any agency of the government in 
time of war. This answered the first two questions, In respect to 
the third question, it was decided that the Adjutant General's De- 
partment was best suited to care for the prisoners as it was charged 
with, the responsibility for the disciplinary barracks and with the 
recordkeeping- for the Army." Therefore, early in December 1916, 
The Adjutant General was advised by the Chief of Staff that a divi- 
sion of his office would have general charge of all matters connected 
with war prisoners, and that he should make the preliminary plans 
necessary to enable the division on the outbreak of war to take up the 
work promptly. 12 And on 14 December 1916 "Regulations Governing 
the Transfer of Prisoners of War from the Custody of the Navy to 
that of the Army" were completed. 13 

In summary, these regulations, effective in time of war, provided: 
(1) All war prisoners (a broader term than prisoners of war, be- 
cause it included enemy aliens as well as captured enemy forces), 
except those to be detained elsewhere for health or sanitary reasons, 
would be placed in the custody of the War Department. (2) Naval 
forces would detain war prisoners only so long as necessary to effect 
their transfer to a place of confinement designated by the Army's 
Adjutant General. (3) Transfers would be under naval guard until 
the prisoners were turned over to the proper Army commander who 
would give a written receipt for the prisoners. (4) Transfer of re- 
sponsibility would be accomplished upon delivery of the receipts 
which would show the name, rank or rate, nationality, and sex of the 
prisoners transferred. 

Regulations Governing fhe Custody of Prisoners of War, 1917 

To comply with his instructions, The Adjutant General prepared 
tentative regulations pertaining to war prisoners and their internment. 
Certain details, such as locations, inspection, and decentralization of 
control, depended on the development of war and the number and 

w Ltr, Col C. W. Kennedy to JAG, 15 Aug 10, sub : Formulation of plajis and regulations 
for the transfer to the Army of Naval prisoners of war. WCD 8580-9 ; memo, OCS for 
Cli, WCD, 28 Sep 16, WCT) 8580-9. Records of WD'GS, National Archives. 

11 1st Tnd, JAG to Col C. W. Kennedy, 11 Oct lfi. WCD 8580-7; report sheet of WCD 
officers; memo, Brig Gen C. G. Treat, Actg Oh, WCD, to CofS, 19 Oct lfi, sub: Policy us 
to custody of prisoners of war and nonmilitary persons interned during time of war. WCD 
8580-9, Records of WDGS. Na tional Archives. 

"Memo, Ma.j Geii II . D, Scott', CofS, for TAG, 4 Dec 10. sub : Policy as to custody of 
prisoners of war and nontnilitary persons interned during a time of war, WCD 8580-12. 
Kecords of WDGS. National Archives. 

13 Memo, Brig Gen J. E. Kuhn, Oh, WCD, for CofS, 27 Feb 17, sub : Herniations for 
war prisoners and their places of internment. WCD 8580-15. Records of WDGS. Na- 
tional Archives. A copy of the regulations is in the author's file. 



types of prisoners taken into custody; therefore, only general pro- 
visions were provided in the regulations. Guard personnel was to be 
furnished at the rate of one company for each 1,800 prisoners, and the 
use of prisoner labor to erect temporary facilities in the internment 
camps was permitted. The regulations also incorporated the Army- 
Navy agreement of December 1916 and the proposed general order of 
1915. These regulations, designated as Special Regulations No. 62. 
"Custody of Prisoners of War, 1917," were approved and published on 
29 March 1917, shortly before the declaration of war by the United 
States. 14 

The Internment Problem 

The United States entered the European conflict on 6 April 1917 
and during the spring and summer considerable interest was shown 
by the public in the administration and internment of prisoners of 
war. Citizen committees were formed; editorials appeared in the 
press; and pressure was exerted on congressional leaders in the form 
of letters. The War Department invited the Committee on Intern- 
ment, a subdivision of a self-organized civilian group known as the 
National Committee on Prisons and Prison Labor, to furnish plans for 
the internment of enemy aliens in the United States for consideration 
by the War College Division. 15 The 126 pages of plans submitted 
by the committee, based upon a study of pertinent international law 
and the experiences of the current belligerents, proved to be of so great 
a value that they were referred to The Adjutant General for his in- 
formation. 16 

Newspaper editorials and letters to different executive and legisla- 
tive agencies of the Government urged the transfer of allied prisoners 
of war from Europe to the United States for one of the following 
reasons : to free the captors of the economic burden of their support ; 
to relieve allied soldiers from guard duties and permit their rede- 
ployment to the front; to supply needed labor in the United States; 
to offset the United States' share in the cost of PW maintenance 
through their use as a labor force in America ; to minimize the danger 
of submarine attack upon returning transport vessels due to the 
presence of prisoners of war aboard ; to have hostages in the United 
States to insure good treatment of American PW's in the hands of 

"Memo, Brig Gen J. E. Kuhn, Ch, WCD, for CofS, 12 Feb 17, sub: Regulations for 
war prisoners and their places of internment. WCD S580-.1 4 ; see also : Memo, Maj Gen 
T. H. Bliss for CofS, 28 Feb 17. WCD 8580-15. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 
Copy of SR 62 in author's file. 

1B The Committee on Internment included William Hamlin Childs, Raymond B. Fosdick, 
Frederick A, Goetz, Sam A. Lewisjohn, George W. Wlckersliam, T. D. Seras, and E. Staff 
Whiton. These with Thomas Mott Osborne as honorary president represented leading 
elements In church, law, and penal administration. 

WCD 8580-17 and -18. Records of WDGS, National Archives. 

338293—55 5 



the enemy; and to encourage a flow of new citizens to the United 
States after the war. 17 

The "War College Division reviewed the suggestions in the light of 
their legality and effectiveness, and concluded : 

. . . that strong objection will be made by the Allied powers themselves 
against any measures looking to the removal of the German war prisoners 
where labor is required by them for the conduct of the war. It is a fact 
that labor or manpower is the one crying need of all belligerents, and 
France and England at least, have need for every man. 1 * 

In January 1918, at the suggestion of the Secretary of State and 
The Adjutant General, the War Department asked Gen. (later Gen- 
eral of the Armies) John J. Pershing, Commander in Chief, AEF, 
for recommendations as to whether all PW's captured by American 
forces should be interned in the United States or turned over to the 
Allies or a neutral power. 19 General Pershing replied on 7 January 
that "Prisoners of war should be utilized here [France] as laborers 
under our own jurisdiction, although shipping some prisoners of war 
to the United States might be advantageous later in prevention of 
U-boat attacks provided we can accomplish same without re- 
prisals. . . 20 

Meanwhile, the Chief of Staff recommended that all PW's be 
shipped to the United States, and that under no circumstance should 
they be turned over to the Allies or to a neutral power. The War 
College Division believed that keeping numerous prisoners of war 
behind American lines, despite the potential value of their labor, 
would impose too great a strain on supply channels. It also feared 
that Germany would consider their retention a violation of Article 
XXIV of the 1785 treaty with Prussia as amended. 21 

The Secretary of War, however, preferred the recommendations of 
General Pershing that PW's be retained in France unless so many 
were captured that it would be impracticable to provide guards. 
Therefore, in February 1918, he advised General Pershing and the 
Secretary of State -that prisoners of war captured by American forces 

"WCD 8580-21 and -23. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 

is Memo, Brig Gen J. E. Kuhn, WCD, for CofS, 22 May 17, sub : Transfer of German 
prisoners of war from Allied countries- to America. WCD 850-23 ; memo, Ch, WCD, for 
CofS, 22 May 17, sub : Use of German prisoners as hostages on ships carrying muni- 
tions to Europe. WCD 8580-24. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 

19 Memo, TAG for CofS, 11 Jan 18, sub : Prisoners of War. WCD 8580-60 ; memo, 
TAG for CofS, 2 Jan 18, sub: Prisoners of War. WCD 8580-66. Hecords of WDGS. 
National Archives; see also: Reports of Commander-in-Chief, A. J/. F., Staff Sections 
and Set-vices in UNITED STATES ARMY IN THE WORLD WAK, 1917-1919 (Wash- 
ington, 1948), XV, p. 329. 

20 Memo, TAG to CofS, 11 Jan 18, sub: Prisoners of War. WCD 8580-69. Records o£ 
WDGS. National Archives ; see also : Reports of Commander-in-Chief, A. E. F., XV, 
pp. 329, 330. 

21 Art. XXIV provided in part ". . . that thoy [prisoners of war] shall he placed in 
some parts of their [Prussia and the United States] dominions in Europe and America, 
in wholesome situations. . . ." See : Memo, Ch, War Plans Div, for CofS, 21 Jan 18, sub : 
Questions connected with proper disposal of our prisoners of war. WCD 8580-69. Records 
of WDGS. National Archives. 



in France would bo retained in the theater. 22 But the State Depart- 
ment and the War Plans Division (WPD) still maintained that the 
retention of PWs in Europe would violate treaty obligations. Gradu- 
ally Gen. Peyton C. March, Chief of Staff, was persuaded to the view- 
point of the State Department and War Plans Division, and on 5 June 
1918 Pershing was notified that all PWs would be interned in the 
United States. 23 

This placed General Pershing in an embarrassing situation. On the 
one hand, in view of the labor shortage in Europe he had requested 
prisoners of war from the Allies for labor. On the other hand, he now 
had the order to ship them to the United States for internment. Con- 
fronted with this situation, General Pershing cabled the War Depart- 
ment that the new ruling be reconsidered in the light of the critical 
labor situation in France and the arrangements which had been com- 
pleted with the British and French. He did not object to the transfer 
of officer prisoners of war to the United States for internment. 24 

On receipt of this cable and on the advice of the State Department, 
who apparently realized the international complications that might 
arise, the Chief of Staff reversed his stand and authorized the reten- 
tion of ". . . German prisoners, of war in France provided that they 
are not surrendered to our co-belligerents. . . ." 25 Thus it was finally 
determined that the bulk of prisoners of war captured by U. S. forces 
would be retained in France for use by the American Expeditionary 

Since no mention was made of the disposition of interned enemy 
officers, they were kept in France pending further instructions from 
Washington. 29 In September 1918, at the suggestion of the French 
mission to the AEF, General Pershing again recommended that officer 
PW's be sent to the United States since they "do not work and their 
maintenance here involves unnecessary use of guards, lodging, and 
subsistence." 27 Although this recommendation was approved by the 
Chief of Staff and the Secretary of State, the officers were ordered -held 
in France. The question of their status was then before a diplomatic 
conference at Berne, Switzerland, between German and American 
representatives, and before it was decided the armistice intervened. 28 

S2 Memo, OCofS for TAG, 12 Feb 18, sub: Questions connected with proper disposal of 
our prisoners of war; ltr, SW to Sec of State, 12 Feb 18. WCD 8580-75. Records of 
WDGS. National Archives. 

23 WCD 8580-98. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 

34 Memo, TAG for CofS, 12 Jun 18, sub: Inclosed cablegram received in AGO June 9, 
1918. WCD 8580-107. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 

s= Memo, Gen P. C. March, CofS, for TAG, 25 Jim 18. WCD 8580-105; memo, Brig 
Gen L. Brown, Dir, WPD, for CofS, 28 Jun 18, sub: Disposition of Prisoners of Wnr ; 
ltr, SW to Sec of State, 14 Jun 18. WCD 8580-107. Records of WDGS. National 

23 Reports of Commander-in-Chief, A. E. F,, Staff Sections and Services, XV, p. 332. 

2* WCD 8580-121. Records of WDGS. National Archives; see also: Reports of Com- 
mander-in-Chief, A. E. F., Staff Sections and Services, XV, p. 332, 

23 Reports of Commander-in-Chief, A.-E. F. 3 Staff Sections and Services, XV, p. 332; 
see also : WCD 8580-122. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 



Planning for PW Employment in the United States 

Upon the outbreak of war, The Adjutant General took steps to 
comply with Special Kegulations- No. 62. Forts Oglethorpe and 
McPherson in Georgia and Fort Douglas, Utah, were designated as 
war prison barracks;, retired officers were recalled to command the 
barracks ; one guard company, formed from a nucleus of 10 or more 
men taken from established guard companies at U. S. disciplinary 
barracks, was assigned to each of the new prison barracks; and mar- 
ried men, soldiers approaching retirement, retired noncommissioned 
officers, and other retired soldiers were used as fillers in the guard 
companies. So rapidly was the plan put into effect that eight days 
after the start of the war, approximately 800 German sailors were 
already interned in the barracks in Georgia. 29 

Although the number of prisoners of war in the United States did 
not greatly increase during the summer of 1917, many administrative 
details had to be worked out : the mechanics of mail censorship had 
to be solved; diversion and exercise facilities had to be provided; 
segregation for security and disciplinary reasons had to be accom- 
plished ; employment had to be considered ; and arrangements for the 
exchange of sick and wounded prisoners of war, for the inspections of 
camps by the protecting power, and for captured enemy officers had 
to be made. The latter three details, and others involving interna- 
tional agreements, were in due course the subjects of diplomatic agree- 
ments made through a neutral power with Germany. 30 The prewar 
general regulations of The Adjutant General had left all such details 
for development during the course of the war. 

In considering the employment of prisoners of war, it appeared 
desirable to the planners that maximum work opportunities for the 
PW's would aid their morale as much as it would benefit the United 
States. Certain work, such as PW employment as tailors, cobblers, 
and the like, recommended itself, but the War Department also con- 
sidered PW employment on public works. On the other hand, in 
September 1917, a request by the Governor of Utah and other State 
officials for the use of prisoners of war to save the sugar beet crop 
around Salt Lake City was refused. It was not deemed advisable at 
this time to authorize the employment of prisoners of war by private 
individuals or by corporations. Actually, an authorized PW labor 
program, except to maintain PW camps, was nonexistent. 

In November, at the request of the Secretary of War, the National 
Committee on Prisoners and Prisoner Labor prepared a plan whereby 
PW's would be used to maintain public highways. This plan had 

™ See : WCD 8580 A-l. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 

30 WCB 8580-32, -33, -43, -52, and -58. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 



the approval of six Eastern States," the United States Forestry Serv- 
ice, the Geological Survey, and the Office of Public Roads and Engi- 
neering of the Department of Agriculture. The internment camp 
commanders also recommended the plan but requested it be laid aside 
until more prisoners were available. 32 After careful study, the War 
Department concluded that such employment would be desirable both 
for the prisoners and for the public benefit and instructed The Ad- 
jutant General to place this general policy into effect. 33 A provision 
was also made whereby in exceptional cases PWs could be employed 
by private parties or by corporations for limited periods to prevent 
the loss of crops ready for harvesting, or for other similar purposes. 
Such employment was to be governed by the same rules and regula- 
tions that applied to work for the public service, and each individual 
case had to be approved by the Secretary of War. 34 

At the recommendation of the Secretary of State, civilian enemy 
aliens, except those who volunteered to work, were exempt from all 
forms of compulsory labor except that connected with their own ad- 
ministration and maintenance. 33 

The Pay Problem 

In December 1917, the Secretary of Labor, referring to the proposed 
labor plan, wrote : "I do not anticipate any serious protest from the 
workers as a result of the employment of prisoners of war in such 
occupations as road building, if care is taken to require the payment 
of the prevailing rate of wages in the neighborhood and the observance 
of the prevailing conditions." 3G The Adjutant General, however, ob- 
jected to "the payment of the prevailing rate of wages" since the wages 
for road labor were so high that it would be possible for the PW to re- 
ceive a greater daily stipend than that received by the average U. S. 
soldier. Such an action, he thought, would bring a storm of indigna- 
tion. The War Plans Division of the Chief of Staff's Office disagreed 
and felt that although The Adjutant General should have a free hand 
in fixing the PWs pay when they were engaged in noncompetitive 
work, work for private parties or corporations or in other competitive 
labor should be paid at the prevailing wage rate, less the cost of PWs 
maintenance. The Division recommended, however, that except for 

al Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. 

a* Memo, Brig Gen H. P. McCain, TAG, for SW, 5 Nov 17. WCD 8580-4,1. Kecords 
of WDGS. National Archives. 

m For information concerning PW employment practices of other nations during WWI. 
see: Memo, Col P. D. Lochridge, Actg Ch, WCD, for CofS, 17 Nov 17, sub: Employ- 
ment of Prisoners of War in the TI: S, IMd. 

81 Memo, OCofS for TAG, 23 Nov 17, sub : Employment of Prisoners of War in U. S. 

85 WD "Regulations for the Employment of Prisoners of War," 28 Mar 18, par 5. Copy 
in author's file. 

"Memo, WCD for CofS, 11 Mar 18, sub: Employment of prisoners of war. WCD 
8580-67. Records of WDGS. National Archives, 



serious emergencies, competitive work should not be given to the pris- 
oners. This would also avoid giving the enemy any reasonable 
grounds for retaliation. 37 

In March 1918, information was received concerning the pay prac- 
tices of other nations. Briefly and with reference to the interests of 
labor unions, the general payment principle was to pay the same rate 
as that received by free labor for similar work. Account was taken of 
the PW's efficiency as compared with the ordinary work performance 
of free native labor. Another factor considered was that the progress 
of the war had not resulted in a labor shortage; consequently, PW 
labor did not compete with the employment of free labor. 38 

"Regulations for the Employment of Prisoners of War, 1918" 

As a result of the investigations and recommendations, on 28 
March 1918, the War Department issued "Regulations for the Em- 
ployment of Prisoners of War, 1918" which provided that the Secre- 
tary' of War would fix the rates for P W labor on government contracts. 
Other work and compensation was to be settled in agreements between 
private employers (and other branches of the public service) and The 
Adjutant General. The regulations thus avoided setting a standard 
amount to be paid by the employers and the exact amount to be paid 
the prisoner of war. Employers, other than the War Department, had 
to reimburse monthly the commandant of the war prison barracks con- 
cerned for any work performed by the prisoners of war; and the com- 
mandant, in turn, had to credit the individual PW's account with the 
amount actually earned. Pay and other credits given for work per- 
formed for the War Department were to be used to improve the pris- 
oner's lot ; the balance, less the cost of their maintenance, was to be paid 
to the PW on his release. 30 

All classes of PW's, except commissioned officers and those physi- 
cally unfit for labor, had to do any work necessary for their self- 
maintenance; and all, except officers, could be required to work for the 
public service. When specifically authorized and on written request, 
the prisoners could also work for private employers or for corpora- 
tions. On written request, petty or noncommissioned officer PW's 
could be given supervisory work. 

Other administrative employment details were prescribed in the 
regulations, such as classification of the PW's as to their physical 
ability to work, accounts and disbursement of pay, tools and equip- 

" ma. 

^Memo, Ch, WPD, for CofS, 25 Mar 18, Bub: Employment of prisoners of war and 
interned aliens. WCD 8B80-80. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 

3° Prisoners working ia the war prisoner barracks in Georgia wore paid the following ' 
rates : 25 cents a day for laborers and mechanics and 35 cents a day for PW overseers. 
See: "Report of The Adjutant General of the Army," Annual Reports of the War De- 
partment, 1919, p. 45, ■ 


ment, work supervisors, contractual arrangements, construction, dis- 
cipline, guards, supply, and administration of work camps. 

A copy of the regulations was forwarded to General Pershing in 
France for his information, and the employment provisions were 
embodied in diplomatic drafts sent to Germany. 40 

PW Labor in the United States 

During World War I, only 1,346 enemy prisoners of war, compris- 
ing officers and crews of German auxiliary cruisers which were lying- 
in United States ports at the opening of hostilities, were in confine- 
ment in continental United States. 41 Only these were employable 
under existing regulations. Because of the limited number available 
that could be employed, the PW employment program as it developed 
in the United States entailed more planning than actual labor. As 
the plans were being made, an unsuccessful prison break at the war 
prison barracks, Fort McPherson, Ga., focused attention on the in- 
activity of the prisoners and on a definite lack of discipline on the 
part of guard personnel. The Inspector General, on conclusion of his 
investigation of the affair, recommended a compulsory PW employ- 
ment program, stating that such a program was necessary for the 
preservation of the PW's health as well as for their discipline. 42 Al- 
though the employment plans for prisoners of war in the United 
States were adequate, the limited number available greatly restricted 
their use. ■ 

Civilian requests from various sections of the United States for 
prisoner of war labor also focused attention on the need for an em- 
ployment program. A farmer in Texas wanted to use a "few thou- 
sand" to plant crops. 43 In California, the Inyo Good Road Club and 
the Berkeley Defense Corps condemned the war prison barracks as 
being "... practically summer resorts amidst surroundings of com- 
fort amounting to luxury . . . » and advocated the use of PW's on 
the construction of a proposed system of national highways for the 
Pacific Coast States. 44 In Vermont, PW's were requested for farm 
labor. 45 

"Memo, Ch, WPD, for CofS, 7 Mar 18, siib : Letter from Sec of State inclosing draft 
of proposed convention respecting the treatment of prisoners of war. WCD 8580-76 
Records of WDGS. National Archives, 

""Report of the Secretary of War," Annual Reports of the War Department, 1920, 
p. 289. The total number of war prisoners, which included enemy aliens, totaled" 5,887^ 
See : "Report of The Adjutant General of the Army," Annual Reports of the War De- 
partment, 1919, p. 43, 

13 Memo, TAG for CofS, 21 May 18, sub: Inspection of War Trison Barracks Fort 
McPherson, Ga. WCD 8580-101. Records of WDGS. National Archives 
13 WCD 8580-128. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 

"Memo, Dir, WPD, to CofS, 16 Oct 18, sub: Resolutions requesting that prisoners of 
war be required to work on highways, Pacific Coast States. WCD 8580-136, Records of 
WDGS, National Archives. 

4s Memo, Dir, WPD, to CofS, 18 Oct 18, sub: Request for use of prisoners of war on 
Vermont farms. WCDS580-141. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 



The military services in the United States felt the labor shortage as 
much as private enterprise, and it was through the unauthorized use 
of prisoners of war by the camp quartermaster at Camp Sevier, 
S. C, that the scope of approved work on military installations was 
broadened. In the summer of 1918, the War Department sent 100 
prisoners of war from the war prison barracks at Fort McPherson, 
Ga,, to Gamp Sevier, S. C, to cultivate a post garden. Similar groups 
were sent to Camp Devens, Camp Jackson, Camp Grant, Camp Sher- 
man, and Camp Wadsworth, for the same purpose. At Camp Sevier, 
the camp quartermaster, who had been unable to secure sufficient 
workers from local sources, used the PW's to unload coal and sup- 
plies, to repair tentage, and to shoe horses. Authority for this type 
of work had not been granted by the Acting Quartermaster Gen- 
eral, and when the unauthorized work was discovered, the matter was 
referred to the War Department for decision. Since such employ- 
ment was appropriate under existing War Department regulations, 
since it was permitted by international law, and since it was in ac- 
cordance with diplomatic agreements with Germany, the War De- 
partment in March 1919 formally authorized the use of prisoners of 
war for general camp police work and for work on camp utilities. 40 

Other developments in the PW employment program in the United 
States were the broadening of policy with respect to the employment 
of PW noncommissioned and petty officers, and the firm position taken 
in requiring noncommissioned officer (NCO) PW's to work for their 
self -maintenance. In October 1918, the commandant of the Fort Mc- 
Pherson, Ga., War Prison Barracks requested permission to use 20 
volunteer PW petty officers to pick cotton for a farmer in the vicinity. 
The necessary number had already volunteered and could be spared 
for the job, but the work was not of a supervisory nature as required 
by existing regulations. After consideration, the War Department 
liberalized its policy and authorized the requested work. 47 At the 
same time, a firm position was taken in requiring PW NCO's and petty 
officers "to perform work necessary for their comfort or for the up- 
keep of their prison barracks." 

Establishment of Responsibility for PW's in AEF 

On 6 June 1917, the first American troops to serve in Europe landed 
in France ; and for the first time, a large American army was to oper- 
ate outside continental United States for an extended period of time. 
After 20 July 1917 responsibility for prisoners of war in the Amer- 
ican Expeditionary Forces was vested in the following: G-l Section, 

"Memo, Brig Gen E. D. Anderson for CoiS, 31 Mar 10, sub: Employment of German 
Prisoners. WCD 8580-107; memo, Maj Gen Henry Jarvis for TAG', 28 Mar 19, sub: 
Interpretation of Regulations governing the Labor of Prisoners of War and Internee! Alien 
Enemies. WCD 8580-169. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 

47 WCD 8580-140. Records of WDGS. National Archives. 



General Staff, who was responsible for the general policy govern- 
ing their disposal; The Adjutant General, who maintained a Prisoner 
of War Information Bureau ; and The Provost Marshal General, who 
had the actual charge and custody of the prisoners. 48 Before this, the 
Army Field Service Regulations had not provided for a Provost 
Marshal General's Department nor for any other central authority 
to supervise military police or related PW activities. Commanders 
of trains within combat divisions, commanders of defense districts on 
the 1. ine of communications, and others were charged with the control 
of military police and with the exercise of provost marshal functions. 
Each performed the same duties independent of the others and re- 
ported to various departments within the commands. The activities 
were too decentralized to permit any effective exercise of overall re- 
sponsibility, and it was to provide this needed centralization of au- 
thority that General Pershing created a Provost Marshal General's 
Department within his headquarters in July. The department was 
also charged with the execution of prisoner of war policies, but it was 
not clear who had responsibility for the enunciation of policies to be 
followed.* y According- to Brig. Gen. Harry H. Bandholtz, The Provost 
Marshal General of the AEF, the order did not allocate the respon- 
sibility for policy decisions. 50 However, the AEF G-l differed, charg- 
ing The Provost Marshal General "will issue such instructions and 
regulations ... as may be necessary." Responsibility was finally 
fixed in November 1917 when G-l was formally charged with all 
prisoner of war policy decisions. Since no prisoners were being taken 
by American forces at this time and the General Staff was occupied 
with more important matters, prisoner of war planning rested for 

Organization and Treatment of PW's in France 

In June 1918, the influx of prisoners of war, caused by transfers 
from the Allies and an increase in the number captured by American 
forces, made it necessary to use tentative instructions prepared by 
The Provost Marshal General until formal regulations could be pre- 
pared. New instruction's were, soon forthcoming, and responsibility 
for the custody and control of the prisoners of war was vested in The 
Provost Marshal General from the time the PW's arrived at a divi- 
sion inclosure. 53 

18 AEF, Commander in Chief's Report (hereafter referred to as CmC Kpt) pt. 8, app. A, 
vol. 2, pp. 8, 15. AEF, GHQ, Commander in Chief Report File, Records of the American 
Expeditionary Forces (AEF). National Archives. 

« Reports of Commander-in-Chief, A. B. F., Staff, Sections and Services, XV, pp. 314-15, 
317-18, 323 ; See also : AEF GO 8, 5 Jul 17. 

«° Reports of Commander-in-Chief, A. E. F., Staff Sections and Services, XV, p. 329. 

» Reports of Commander-in-Chief, A. B. P., Staff Sections and Services, XII, p. 211. 
. <® Reports of Commander-in-CMef, A. IS. F., Staff Sections and Services, XV, p. 329. 

M AEF GO 106, 1 Jul 18. 



Evacuation Procedures 

Prisoners of war, when captured, were immediately disarmed and 
sent to a brigade headquarters where they were searched for concealed 
weapons and documents that might have escaped previous observation. 
From brigade headquarters the PW's were sent to a division inclosure 
where they came under the control of The Provost Marshal General 
although the division provided the necessary officers and guards when 
required. Here the prisoners were interrogated by intelligence per- 
sonnel, and then, under guard furnished by the PMG, were escorted 
as expeditiously as possible to a central PW inclosure in the rear area. 

On arrival at the central PW inclosure, the prisoners were sent to a 
receiving stockade where certain articles of equipment, such as over- 
coats, blankets, gas masks, and mess kits, were removed and sent to 
salvage depots. To facilitate further search in the receiving office, 
the PW's were instructed before entering as to what personal articles 
could be kept. Money could not be retained, and a receipt was given 
for it or any other personal property taken from the prisoners. 

At the receiving station, the PW's were issued tags bearing their 
PW serial numbers. At this point each filled out a general informa- 
tion form from which index cards were made H and addressed a postal 
card to his family informing them of his arrival at the PW inclosure 
and of his state of health. When this was completed the PW's were 
required to bathe, after which they were given a medical examination 
and issued renovated, dyed clothing. The PW's were next classified 
according to occupational history and were sent to a stockade where 
they awaited assignments to a labor company. Assignments were made 
according to the PW's labor classification. 35 

General Treatment of Prisoners of War 

Prisoners of war received the same type food, clothing, and quarters 
as were provided for American troops. They also received the same 
medical treatment given to the men of the AEF. For their welfare, 
the prisoners, had many forms of entertainment and recreation : PW 
orchestras were organized; each PW stockade had a supply of foot- 
balls, baseballs, handballs, and. boxing gloves; and in some instances, 
the PW's were permitted to engage in athletic contests with other PW 
companies. 56 Generally, the prisoners of war reacted favorably to 
the treatment received. 57 

"The cards included the PW's name, rank, serial number, occupation before entering 
the military service, and the date of arrival at the inclosure. 

65 MS, "Some Accomplishments of the Services of Supply, AEF," p 157 WAR-9-2- 
AEF-10 Rev. Ed. OCMH, Gen Bof Off; CinC Rpt, p. 41 ; MS, "History of' Central Pris- 
oner of War Enclosure No. 1, AEF," p. 4. Prisons and Prisoners File. Records of AEF. 
National Archives. 

50 MS, "History of Central Prisoner of War Enclosure No. 1." Prisons and Prisoners 
File; see also : CinC Rpt, pp. 23-24, 61-62. Eecords of AEF. National Archives. 

^Eor a typical example, see: MS, "History of Prisoner of War Company No. 99^ 
SOS." Prisons and Prisoners File. Records of AEF. National Archives. 



PW Employment Policy in the AEF 

The AEF employment policy required prisoners of war, other than 
officers, ". . , to labor for the public service." Those in authority 
considered the constant employment of the largest number possible 
would be for the welfare of the prisoners themselves, as well as in the 
best interest of the United States. 58 Consequently, all PW privates 
were required to do manual labor unless they possessed special qualifi- 
cations for clerical, mechanical, or other skilled labor, PW non- 
commissioned officers were required to work as clerks or interpreters 
or to supervise the work done by the privates. 59 On the advice of The 
Judge Advocate General, AEF, corporals and soldiers of lesser rank 
were regarded as privates and were worked accordingly. Prisoner of 
War Labor Company No. 86, for example, was comprised almost 
entirely of PW corporals. 00 

In accordance with the Hague Regulations (although they were 
not considered as being binding since some of the belligerents were 
not signatories), prisoners of war were not required to engage in any 
work directly connected with military operations. They could not 
be employed within the range of enemy shell fire, which was construed 
to be within 30 kilometers of the front lines, except when carrying 
wounded to the rear. No PW's were used in occupied Germany. 61 

PW Labor Companies 

On 26 July 1918, the first prisoner of war labor company in France 
was organized; and by December 1919, 122 had been formed at central 
PW inclosures. The different type companies, consisting of approxi- 
mately 250-45Q men, were classified according to the skills of the 
component privates. On an average, 50 of these men were PW non- 
commissioned officers who served as work supervisors or company 
specialists. The PW classification and assignment resulted in the 
formation of specialist companies, such as construction, roadbuilding, 
etc., and general labor companies. 

According to the existing PW directive, an American officer was to 
be appointed by GHQ to command each PW labor company and was 
to be responsible for its discipline and administration. In general 
practice, however, the officers were assigned to The Provost Marshal 

m AEF GO 106, 1 Jul 18. 

58 The PMG attributed much of the success of the PW employment program to the non- 
commissioned officers. See : Reports of Commander-in-Chief, A. E. F., Staff Sections and 
Services, XV, p. 320. ' 

™Memo, Lt Col J. C. Groome, Deputy PMG, to ACofS, G-l, AEF, 31 Jul 18, sub: Data 
Concerning Enemy Prisoners of War, AEF, General Staff, G-l, Admjn. Sec, Gen. Corres. 
File ; see also : CinC Rpt, pp. 49, 49a. Records of AEF. Natinal Archives. 

01 AEF GO 106, 1 Jul 18, sec. IV, par. 2; CinC Kpt, p. 46d ; Finul Reprt of Gen. John 
J. Pershing, ComimmAer-in-Ghief , American Expeditionary Forces (Washington, 1920), 
p. 85 ; see also : Reports of Commander-in-Chief, A. E. F., Staff Sections and Services, 
XV, p. 333. 



General for duty with escort guard companies, and, upon reporting, 
were reassigned to the PW labor companies. 

After the organization of a PW labor company, an American escort 
guard company was attached. The guard companies were under the 
jurisdiction of The Provost Marshal General, and personnel for them 
came from any general replacement source. Consequently, they were 
necessarily nondescript, without esprit or training, and were largely 
dependent for success upon the initiative and good sense of their chance 
officers and men, Nevertheless, the work program succeeded because 
in a large measure the PW's were well disciplined and accepted will- 
ingly the conditions of work. 82 

The strength of the escort guard companies varied with the nature 
of the work performed by the prisoners of war. If the PW labor 
companies were split into small detachments for specific tasks, a second 
escort guard company was furnished. Usually the ratio was one guard 
for ten PWs, although the original ratio was one guard to five prison- 
ers of war. 63 

After the organization of a PW labor company and the attachment 
of an escort guard company, the Commanding General, Services of 
Supply, AEF, allocated it to a department of the Army that needed 
a particular type service represented by the labor company. [See 
chart 1.] Once assigned, the company worked under the direction of 
the using agency. 6 * Prisoner of war labor companies organized before 
the armistice could not be used on work directly in support of combat 
units, but after the armistice these restrictions were removed and the 
companies were used on any type work. 

Disciplinary Problems 

Disciplinary problems connected with the execution of work orders 
by the PW's were few. When two escaped PWs in PW Labor Com- 
pany No. 59 were recaptured, they were placed under added restraint; 
whereupon the other PW's refused to work until the penalty was 
lifted. To induce compliance with their work orders, the PW com- 
pany commander applied a policy of administrative pressure and re- 
fused to issue rations until the prisoners returned to work. The 
announced "no work, no eat" policy resulted in an almost immediate 
resumption of labor activities, and the work produced and the man- 

«* Reports of Commander-in-Chief, A. B. F., Staff Sections and Services, XV, p, 320; 
see also : MS, "Some Accomplishments of the Services of Supply, A. E. F.," p 157. 
WAR-9-2-AEF-10 Rev. Ed. OCMH, Gen Ref Off. 

al MS, "History of Central Prisoner of War Enclosure No. 1," pp.' 12, 14. Prisons and 
Prisoners File ; CinC Rpt, pp. 31-32. Records of AEF. National Archives. 

Ltr, Brig Gen Geo. Van Horn Mosely, ACofS, AEF, to- R. R. Clark, Engr. Const. 
Dept of the YMCA, IB Oct 18. AEF, GHQ, AG Office, Gen. Corres. File; memo, Lt Col 
C. B. Bowman to ACofS, G-l, AEF, 15 Aug 18. AEF, General Staff, G-l, Admin. Sec, 
Gen. Corres. File ; see also : CinC Rpt, p. 34. Records of AEF. National Archives. 


ner of performance was better after the incident than before. 65 

Payment for Labor [See chart 

Enlisted prisoners of war were paid for each day's labor performed, 
other than for their own self-maintenance. No money was given to 
the prisoners, but the prisoner's personal accounts were credited with 
the sums earned. The rate of work pay was fixed at a minimum of 20 
centimes per day for PW privates working as common laborers, and a 
maximum of 1 franc per day for German noncommissioned officers 
acting as sergeant majors. If a PW desired, he could draw upon his 
account, in which case he was issued canteen tokens or script to pur- 
chase needed incidental items. PW officers were not required to work 
and were paid at the following monthly rate: lieutenants, $83.35 per 
man ; officers of higher rank, $95.25 per man. 66 

The Armistice 

On 11 November 1918 at Compiegne Forest, Germany signed an 
armistice that concluded hostilities in France. Under the armistice 
terms, German troops withdrew immediately to Germany, but the 
prisoners of war already in Allied custody were to remain in France 
until the treaty of peace came into force at the exchange of ratifications. 
They were then to be repatriated to Germany as quickly as possible. 67 

During the interim period between the armistice and the treaty 
of peace, a period in which the bulk of the employment of prisoners 
of war by the United States Army took place, the AEF held approxi- 
mately 48,000 prisoners of war, including PW's who had been shipped 
to France from the United States. 68 These were employed under the 
same regulations that applied during hostilities, and were used on 
the maintenance of roads, in motor shops at Vernetiil, on railroad 
and pier construction, and on salvage work. 69 Ratifications of the 
peace treaty were exchanged on 10 January 1920, the prisoners were 
exchanged, and by 31 August 1920, the AEF headquarters in France 
was discontinued. 

05 MS, ""History of Prisoner of War Labor Company No. 59, SOS." Prisons and Prisoners 
File. Records of AliF. National Archives. 

30 MS, "Some Accomplishments of the Services of Supply, AEF." p. 157. WAR-9-2- 
AEF-10 Rev. Ed. OCMH. Gen Ref Off. 

° J Arts. 214-17, 220 of Treaty of Peace. In Malloy, op. cit., p. 3415. 

08 By 1919, 907 captured officers and 47,373 enemy enlisted men were in the custody of 
the AEF. See : Reports of Commander-in-CJtief, A. if, F., Staff Sections and Services, XV, 
p. 315. However, The Adjutant General reported 48,076 German prisoners of war and 
737 Austro-Hungarian prisoners in American custody. See : "Report of The Adjutant 
General," War Department Annual Reports, 1919, vol. 1, pt. 1, p. 535. Services of Supply 
reported 883 officers and 47,815 enemy enlisted men as of 1 Mar 19 in American custody. 
See : MS, "Some Accomplishments of the Services of Supply, AEF." WAR-9-2-AEF-10 
Rev. Ed. OCMH, Gen Ref Off. See also : "Report of the Secretary of War," A.nnual Reports 
of the War Department, 1920, p. 289. 

« MS, "Some Accomplishments of tlie Services of Supply, AEF," p. 157, WAR-0-2- 
AEF-10 Rev. Ed. OCMH, Gen Ref Off. 


Chart 1, Types of Labor Performed* 


Base Section 
No. 1. 

Base Section 
No. 2. 

Base Section 
No. 5. 

Base Section 

No. 6. 
Base Section 

No. 7. 


Advance Sec- 

Number of companies per- 
forming this work 

20 escort companies, 
20 labor compa- 

12 escort companies, 
12 labor compa- 

10 escort companies, 
9 labor companies. 

1 escort company, 1 
labor company. 

4 escort companies, 
4 labor companies. 

27 escort companies, 
13 labor compa- 

General work performed by companies 

36 escort companies, 
. 32 labor compa- 

Salvage work, bakery work, ware- 
housing, repairing roads, steel and 
construction, engineering, general 
labor, fatigue detail, quany work, 
handling lumber, ditch work, sani- 
tary detail, unloading and loading 
freight cars, laying pipeline, QMC 
work, machine shop work, laundry, 
upkeep of inclosure, truck operation, 
carpenter work, cleaning docks, sewer 
construction, railroad repair, vessel 
repair, sawmill work. 

Road work, railroad repairing, ware- 
housing, sawmill work, handling coal, 
general labor, storage, track repair, 
road maintenance, railroad track 
maintenance, carpenter work, car 
loading, painting, stevedore work, 
sanitary work. 

Cutting wood, repairing roads, building 
barracks, quarry work, miscellaneous 
work, sanitary work, general en- 

Loading and unloading cars and stack- 
ing merchandise at depot. 

Road work, building construction, load- 
ing and unloading stone and coal, 
warehouse work, salvage work, and 
truck work. 

General labor, quarry work, engineer 
and construction work, orderlies for 
officer x' r i s ° nera °f war, tailors, 
cooks, road work, wood cutting, work 
for hospital, warehouse work, han- 
dling of supplies, loading cars, sal- 
vage, camp duties. 

Road work, quarry work, general work, 
engineer construction, camp con- 
struction, engineer water supply, 
stockade . construction, repairing, 
transportation, sanitary detail, ma- 
chine shop work, repair work. 

* Source: AEF, Commander in Chief's Report, pp. 46a, 47. ABP Records, National Archives. 


Chart %. Prisoner of War Daily Wage Rales Overseas* 



Detailed as or for- 

Sergeant majors 



Sergeant majors 

Sergeants , 

' Do 





Lance corporals or privates. 


Sergeant major 

Chief clerk 

Hospital orderlies 

Asst. sergeant major_ 

Mail sergeant 

Supply sergeant 

Mess sergeant 

First sergeant 

Duty sergeant 


Assistant clerk 







Chief carpenter... ... 

Chief interpreter 









*Source: AEF, Commander in Chief's Report, pp. 60, 61. AEF Records. National Archives, 

Chapter 6 
Planning Between the World Wars 

Prisoner of war planning between World Wars I and II revolved 
about the following problems: the establishment of an agency re- 
sponsible for the prisoners ; the apparatus for caring for the prisoners ; 
and the very limited preparations for prisoner of war employment, 
the planners making no differentiation between prisoners of war and 
interned civilian enemy aliens. In general, no adequate plans for 
handling captured enemy personnel were formulated until 1937 — only 
broad and general policies were made. However, certain interna- 
tional agreements were made that had an efFect on subsequent planning. 

The Geneva Conventions of T929 

During the spring and early summer of 1929, representatives of the 
major nations of the world met in Geneva, Switzerland, to revise the 
codification of international laws relating to prisoners of war. This 
resulted in the signing on 27 July 1929 of the Geneva Prisoner of 
War Convention 1 and the Geneva Red Cross Convention for the 
Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick of Armies in 
the Field (the Geneva Red Cross Convention). 2 The 97 articles and 
1 annex of the Prisoner of War Convention were an attempt to 
diminish the rigors of war and to mitigate the fate of the prisoners. 
Among other things, it required PW's, other than officers, to work for 
the benefit of the captors; however, the work could not be directly 
related to war operations nor could it jeopardize the health and safety 
of the prisoners. Furthermore, the prisoners had to have certain 
qualifications and aptitudes for the labor to which they were assigned. 
The 1929 Red Cross Convention superseded the Red Cross Conven- 
tions of 1864 and 1926 and defined the status of captured enemy sick 
and wounded. It also defined the status of captured medical and sani- 
tary personnel and chaplains attached to armies, and outlined the 

1 Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (usually referred to as 
The Geneva Prisoner of War Convention of 1B29), 27 July 29, in Malloy, op. cit., IV, 
p. 5224. 

s For a list of countries that had ratified or adhered to the Geneva Red Cross Convention 
Of 1929 as of 7 Dec 41, see: TM 27-251, "Treaties Governing Land Warfare," p, 151. 
For those who signed or adhered to the PW Convention, see : Ibid., p. 127. 




treatment to be given them. These were not considered prisoners of 
war but were defined as being "protected personnel." 3 

Early Planning, 1919-1938 

In his final World War I report, Brig. Gen. Harry A. Bandholtz, 
The Provost Marshal General of the AEF, protested against the dis- 
solution of the Military Police Corps and the Provost Marshal Gen- 
eral's Department, 4 and advised against any future dependence on 
such emergency measures as had been adopted during World War I. 
General Bandholtz stated that the U. S. military experience in World 
War I "clearly and expensively" demonstrated the need for a per- 
manent establishment to assure adequate prior planning for military 
police activities and the related prisoner of war program. Neverthe- 
less, the Department and the Military Police Corps were abolished, 
and the Operations Division (OPD) of the War Department Gen- 
eral Staff (WDGS) became responsible for prisoner of war planning. 
Planning for military police consisted of the preparation of tables 
of organization for a vaguely contemplated corps of military police. 5 

In July 1924, the War Department designated Brig. Gen. S. D. 
Eockenbach, Commanding General, District of Washington, as Act- 
ing Provost Marshal General of the War Department in addition to 
his other duties. General Eockenbach was instructed to make plans 
for a Military Police Corps which would be established ". . . on the 
outbreak of war if the President so directs. . . ." s These plans and 
a provision for the Corps were to be included in the War Department 
General Mobilization Plan. At the same time General Eockenbach 
was appointed, an acting provost marshal was also appointed in each 
corps area, department, and division headquarters. 

General Eockenbach, in preparing the plans for the Military Police 
Corps, also prepared a proposed manual to govern its activities. 7 The 
manual included instructions for prisoners of war and for their em- 
ployment. Since the manual was based on the experiences of the 

3 Report of the International Committed of the Red Cross on its Activities During the 
/Second World War (September 1, 193'J^Jutte 30, 1947), liereafter referred to as Report 
of the International Red Cross Committee (Geneva, 1948), I, pp. 11-14; see also: Flory, 
op. ext., p. 19, Fou a detailed discussion of the history* principles, and foundations of 
the International Committee of the Red Cross, see Report of the International Red Cross 
Committee, pp. 1H7. 

1 The PMQ Department and the Military Police Corpa were discontinued with the rapid 
dissolution of the overseas forces after November 1918. See: Reports of the Commander- 
in-Chief, A. E. F., Staff Sections and Services, XV, p. 327. 

6 Memo, Col Wm. A. Cruickshank, Actg ACofS, for the CofS, 8 Nov 23, sub: Organiza- 
tion of a Military Police Corps; memo, Lt Col L. D. Gasser, Sec, GS, for ACofS, G-3. 
27 Nov 23, sub : Organization of a Military Police Corps. Both in AG 322.999 Military 
Police Corps (7-12-24) (1). National Archives. 

a For information on the proposed Military Police Corps, see: AG S22.999 Military 
Police Corps (7-12-24) (1). National Archives, 

7 A draft of the proposed manual is filed as incl. 2 to Itr, Brig Gen S. D. Eockenbach, 
Actg PMG to TAG, 4 Jul 25, sab : MP Corps Mobilization Plans. Filed in ibid. 



. American Expeditionary Forces, the employment provisions were 
more concerned with, active theater operations than with employment 
by private employers in the Zone of the Interior. None of the World 
War I provisions relating to private employment were included, but 
other employment provisions, such as the organization of PW's into 
labor companies at prison inclosures and their allocation to various 
Army agencies for use, were clearly defined. 

In June 1926, the War Department directed the Acting Provost Mar- 
shal General to revise the manual and to put it into the format of a 
series of Army Regulations and Training Regulations. When this 
was completed, the revised regulations provided for PW labor com- 
panies, adjustable in size according to the number of guards available, 
to be assigned to departments of the Army for labor. They were to be 
directly controlled by The Provost Marshal General in the Zone of the 
Interior or by the Deputy Provost Marshal General, GHQ, in a theater 
of operations. 3 Thus the "company" was a work group rather than 
a military organization. The regulations also suggested the prisoners 
be employed on construction and repair work, provided the work was 
not directly connected with war operations. 

Although the proposed regulations embodied the experiences gained 
in France during World War I, as a basis for future planning they 
were somewhat deficient. The employment of prisoners of war in 
France for the most part had taken place after the armistice; con- 
sequently, the planners felt little need to define the provisions of the 
Hague Convention of 1907 that prohibited the use of prisoners on work 

. connected with war operations. Also, the small number of prisoners 
of war in the United States from 1917 to 1919 had not warranted their 
use by private employers. Because of this, the planners in 1926 did not 
provide for such future employment although they did provide for PW 
employment for the public service. (No provision was made for PW 
employment in any of the Industrial Mobilization Plans. ) 

The regulations as proposed were not published. The Infantry 
Board thought it inappropriate to issue Army Regulations for a Mili- 
tary Police Corps before such a corps was authorized by law ; there- 
fore, the Chief of Infantry recommended that they be prepared but 
that they not be published. 9 The regulations were finally prepared 

8 Memo, Maj Gen Malin Craig, ACofS, to TAG, 23 Apr 26, sub : Proposed MP Corps 
Manual. AG 322.999 Military Police Corps (7-12-24) (1) ; Itr, Brig Gen S. D. Rockenbach 
to TAG, S Jun 26, sub : Provost MP Corps Manual. AG 322/999 Military Police Corps 
(6-8-26) ; proposed AR, 1929, "Prisoners of War," pars. 16, 28. AG 322,999 Military 
Police Corps (7-12-24) (1). National Archives, 

"The General Service Schools also recommended this and thought the general phases 
as required for field service should be amplified in Field Service Regulations. They further 
recommended that the proposed regulations be Included in a special regulation or manual 
for the Military Police Corps. See : 3d Ind., Maj Gen E, A. Helmick, TIG, to TAG, 4 May 
27 ; memo, TAG for ACofS, G-3, 26 May 2T, sub : MP Corps ; for comments of Infantry 
Board, see: Incl, "General Comments," to 1st Ind,, Brig Gen Rockenbach to TAG, 8 Jul 27. 
All filed in AG 322.999 Military Police Corps (6-8-26). National Archives. 



under the direction of The Adjutant General, but were to ". . . be 
held until such time as the Secretary of War specifically authorized 
their publication." 10 The regulations were never published, and until 
1937 no further significant developments occurred in military police 
or prisoner of war planning. 11 

Publication of the MP Manual 

In December 1937, the War Department published a Military Police 
Basic Field Manual based generally on the final report of General 
Bandholtz and incorporating the general provisions of the 1929 
Geneva Conventions. Among other things the manual provided for 
the organization of a PMG Department with responsibilities similar 
to those of the PMG, AEF, in 1918, and with a provost marshal in 
the theater of operations to exercise supervision and control of all 
military police units other than those forming an element of a tactical 
organization. The theater provost marshal was charged with the re- 
ception, care, disposition, and security of all PW's in the theater, in- 
cluding supervision and control of all prison inclosures and with the 
maintenance of records at the camps which were to be transmitted to 
a Prisoner of War Information Bureau in Washington. The manual 
further specified the wartime duties of headquarters and field provost 
marshals. The Provost Marshal General, when appointed, was desig- 
nated to prepare the military police portions of the War Depart- 
ment's operational plans and regulations governing the establishment 
and operation of "war prisoner barracks." 13 

With respect to employment, the manual directed that the PW's be 
formed into labor companies at designated inclosures or barracks, 
Each company was to be commanded by an American MP officer, as- 
sisted by necessary enlisted personnel. The companies were to work 
under armed guard for the commander of the unit to which assigned, 
and, if rigorous supervision was maintained, the PW companies could 
be used for construction or repair work. 

The manual briefly described the general scope of PW operations 
from capture to internment, but comprehensive planning was post- 
poned until the activation of the operating agency — the Provost Mar- 
shal General's Department. 13 Such was the extent of planning when 
hostilities began in Europe in 1939. 

10 Ltr, AG to CG, Disfc of Wash, 18 Aug 27, sub ; Proposed Army and Training Regula- 
tions for the MP Corps, IM&. 

31 In August 1936, an Army Regulation restated that the Personnel Division, G— 1, 
WDGS, was responsible for policy review and planning for prisoners of war. See : AR 
10-16, 18 Aug 36, par. 8b. 

13 The Adjutant General had had this responsibility in 1917. 

" WD Basic Field Manual, vol. IX, "Military Police," 31 Dec 37. 



The Emergency Planning Period, 1939-41 

War in Europe brought increased activity in the War Department. 
New Mobilization Kegulations (MR) issued in December 1939 again 
projected an organized Military Police Corps in the event of a national 
emergency. They also recommended a peacetime cadre for an Office 
of the Provost Marshal General. 14 Despite these regulations, further 
plans issued as late as April 1940 still charged G-l with responsibility 
for policy, planning, administration, and the supervision of prisoner 
of war affairs until the emergency warranted the activation of The 
Provost Marshal General — Military Police program. Until this oc- 
curred, The Adjutant General's Office was to act as a limited interim 
operating agency 15 and was to establish, organize, and operate a 
Central Prisoner of War Information Bureau and field branches as 
required by the 1929 Geneva PW Convention. It was also to transfer 
to the war prisoner barracks any PW's or interned enemy civilians 
evacuated to the United States from theaters of operations. 10 The 
position of a provost marshal on a commander's special staff was 
further provided to advise on the duties of the military police and 
prisoner of war operations. 17 

Appointment of The Provost Marshal General 

During the summer of 1941, two events led directly to the appoint- 
ment of The Provost Marshal General. Certain alien ships were 
being seized and their crews interned in the United States. 18 Also 
in the event of war some 18,500 civilian enemy aliens would have to 
be interned. In order "to vitalize and coordinate planning in con- 
nection with enemy alien internment matters," an administrator, The 
Provost Marshal General, was needed. 19 

Because of the knotty legal problems connected with this job and 
at the suggestion of Secretary of War Henry Stimson, the President 
appointed Maj. Gen. Allen W. Gullion, The Judge Advocate Gen- 
eral, as The Provost Marshal General in addition to his other duties. 
A cadre from the Office of The Judge Advocate General was pro- 
vided, and an office was established under G-l, pending a total Army 

11 MR 1-1, "Personnel, Basic Instructions," 1 Dec 30, par 32?) (4). 

"ME J-13, 1 Apr 40, sees. Ill and IV, par. 10; Geneva PW Convention, 1S29, Art. 77, 
Treaty Series 8-IG, 

11 FM 100-10, "Field Service Regulations, Administration," Dec 40, sec IV, par. 417. 

17 FM 101-5, "Staff Officers Field Manual, The Staff and Combat Orders," 1940, sec. Ill, 
pars. 19, 20, 29. 

13 Act of April 16, 1919. 40 Stat. 531; see also: Sees. 4067, 4068, 4069, 4070 of Rev, 

18 Memo, SW Stimson for Roosevelt, undated, sub: Appointment of Provost Marshal 
General, approved and initialed by the President and returned to AGO, 31 Jul 41 AG 
370.81 ; s«e also : G-l 15182. DRB, TAG, 



mobilization. 20 The office had but one function at this time— to con- 
trol enemy aliens. 21 

Establishment of the Military Police Corps 

Although the Office of The Provost Marshal General was estab- 
lished, the Military Police Corps was still an embryonic organiza- 
tion. Consequently, military police duties were performed by tem- 
porary details of officers and enlisted men from various arms and 

Recognizing the need for a centralized operating authority higher 
than the corps area provost marshal and the need for special war 
training, the Secretary of War ordered the establishment of the Corps 
of Military Police on 26 September 1941. The Provost Marshal Gen- 
eral became chief, and finally acquired the jurisdiction that had been 
contemplated in prewar planning. 22 

The Alien Program 

Planning for alien control late in 1939 and early in 1940 consisted 
of bringing mobilization plans up to date. In April 1940 The Adju- 
tant General became responsible for enforcing the enemy alien laws. 
Local military corps area and departmental commanders were to pro- 
vide temporary custody for aliens arrested or detained by Department 
of Justice officials, if so requested by Federal district attorneys or U. S. 
marshals. If permanent internment installations were to be provided, 
the local commanders were to establish and maintain them. 23 

An Army and Navy local joint committee met at Seattle, Wash., on 
31 October 1940 to plan for such an emergency, the results of which 
demonstrated that existing mobilization plans did not provide for the 
arrest and detention of aliens before the declaration of war should 
such action become, necessary. Consequently, in March 1941, the War 
Department made the corps area commanders responsible for their 
acceptance and temporary detention "... upon declaration of war 
or when authorized hy the War Department.''''™ [Italics author's]. 

10 Five officers and one civilian constituted the staff, and it remained a part of the 
budget structure of The Judge Advocate General's Office until the reorganization of the 
Army in 1942 ; see also : Memo, Brig Gen L. D. Gasser, ACofS, G-l, for CofS, 19 Apr 39, 
sub : Reserve officers for military police units for preservation of domestic order. G-l 
15594 (1-40), Military Police. DRB, TAG. 

21 AG Ltr Order, 31 Jul 41, sub: Orders. AG 370.81 (7-31-41) OD. DEB, TAG. 

23 AG Ltr Order, 26 Sep 41, sub : Organization of the Corps of Military Police. AG 320.2 
(9-20-41) MR-M-A ; memo, G-l to TAG, 26 Sep 41, sub : Organization of the Corps of 
Mil Police. G-l/15594-35 in AG 320.2 Military Police. DRB, TAG ; see also : PMGO, 
"History of Military Police Division," 1 Sep 45. 4-4.2 AA. OCMH, Gen Ref Off. 

s» MR 1-11, 1 Apr 40, par. 16. 

21 Memos, Brig Gen Wm. E. Sbedd, ACofS, G-l, for CofS, 13 Jan 41 and 11 Feb 41, 
sub : Disposition of crews of foreign merchant vessels ... in the event of war AG 
014.311 (1-13-41) seel (1). DRB, TAG. 


The War Department was to inform the corps area commanders of the 
estimated number for which each would be responsible, and they were 
to prepare plans accordingly. Three permanent internment camps 
were to be erected, a 6,000-man barracks in the F ourth Corps Area, and 
two other sites in the Eighth Corps Area. 25 

G-l believed that two existing manuals were adequate in covering 
the administration of the war prisoner barracks and for the care of 
enemy prisoners of war and civilian enemy aliens, but these did not 
provide the sufficient necessary detail as became apparent later. 26 One, 
"Rules of Land Warfare," simply defined those entitled to be con- 
sidered prisoners of war and the nature of treatment to be rendered 
under international law. The other, "Military Police," defined briefly 
the responsibilities of the field provost marshals and military police 
units towards the prisoners. Instructions pertaining to PW employ- 
ment were confined to paraphrases of the War Department document, 
"Rules of Land Warfare," and the 1929 Geneva Prisoner of War 
Convention. 27 

The War Department-Department of Justice Agreement 

During this planning period, the War Department and the Depart- 
ment of Justice enemy alien committees worked on an overall pro- 
gram designed for cooperation between the two agencies which re- 
sulted in a "Joint Agreement of the Secretary of War and the Attor- 
ney General respecting Internment of Alien Enemies," dated 18 July 
1941. 28 In accordance with this agreement, the War Department for- 
mally agreed to detain permanently all male enemy aliens in the 
United States, including the crews of enemy ships ordered interned by 
the Department of Justice. In U. S. territorial possessions this ap- 
plied to all aliens, including women, ordered interned by any author- 
ity. G-l Division retained responsibility for the broad basic plans 
and policies relating to prisoners of war and enemy aliens, and thus 
nominal supervision. The responsibility for administrative supervi- 
sion rested with The Provost Marshal General. 29 

In October 1941, a suggestion by G-4 that the corps area com- 
manders needed guidance in the receipt and internment of prisoners 


2° Memo for ACofS, G-l, 2 Apr 41. G-l 15182-11. DRB, TAG ; 40 Stat. 531; MR 
1-11, 1 Apr 40, par. 13; AG 322.999 Military Police Corps (5-22^41) (1). DRB, TAG. 

27 "Prisoners of war, other than officers, will be required to labor for the public service. 
The labor exacted will not bo excessive and will have no direct connection with the 
operations of the war, . . . Prisoners may be used in prisoner of war compounds as cooks, 
kitchen police, tailors, cobblers, clerks, or on other duties connected with the interior 
economy of the company." See: WD Doc No. 467, "Rules -of Land Warfare," 25 Apr 14. 
Corrected and reprinted with amendments, 15 Apr IT. 

28 Agreement is filed aa Tab A to memo, Brig Gen W. H. Haislip, ACofS, G-l, for 
CofS, 31 Mar 41, sub : Ltr of Atty Gen relative to alien enemies. AG 014.311 (1-13-41) 
see. 1 (1). DRB, TAG. ' 

™ See : Alt 10-15, 13 Jul 42, pars. 4 and 76 ; AR 10-15, 18 Aug. 36, par. 85 (8). 



of war since many crews of alien warships were being seized in 
American coastal waters drew attention to the fact that existing 
publications were inadequate for internment operations. 30 New 
instructions were immediately drawn up which considered, among 
other things, the labor potential of the prisoners of war. Since the 
basic employment provisions of the Geneva PW Convention permitted 
but did not direct PW employment, the fundamental policy decision 
to be made was whether to use them or not. This was soon decided, 
and in December 1941 employment instructions were issued to guide 
those in the field. Basically they were the labor provisions of the 1937 
manual. 31 

Internment Camps 

The Department of Justice and the War Department agreed that 
the Military Establishment would construct three permanent intern- 
ment camps in the southwest, middle south, and southeast (each to 
accommodate 3,000 or more prisoners of war or enemy aliens) in the 
event war was declared. Until that time, the nine corps areas were 
to provide temporary detention facilities as needed to be used for a 
maximum of three to five months. In the permanent internment 
camps, internees or prisoners of war were to be divided by nationality 
and assembled into self-contained compounds of 1,000 persons. They 
were further subdivided into labor companies of 250 prisoners 
each. 32 

Soon after his appointment, The Provost Marshal General vainly 
requested the immediate construction of the permanent internment 
camps. 33 However, at a joint conference between the Navy and War 
Departments, in late 1941, Navy representatives reported that in 
carrying out the announced presidential policy of protecting American 
shipping by force if necessary, prisoners of war would be captured. 
They further stated that the Navy expected to -turn all such prisoners 
over to the Army for custody as was the case World War I. 3 * 

30 DF, Brig Gen R. A. Wheeler, Actg CofS, G-4, to G-l, 20 Oct 41, sub: Disposition of 
Captured Crews of Alien Men of War (1st, 6th, and 9th Corps Area). G-4/32800. PMGO 
014.33, Gen PW #1, 1941 (S). DEB, TAG. 

w FM 29-5, "Military Police," 8 Dec 41, pars. 4, 7, 8 ; Change 2 to ibid., 2 Apr 42, par. 8i ; 
Change 3 to ibid., Nov 43, pars. 2, 4. 

32 One U. S. military escort guard company, consisting of 3 officers and 134 enlisted 
men, was to guard 4 PW labor companies at work either in the inclosures or outside the 
camps. The ratio of prisoners to overhead escort personnel was to be approximately 7Vj : 1. 
See : T/O 16-47, 1 Apr 42 ; see also : Maj Gen A. W. Gullion, PMG, for CofS, IS Jan 42, 
sub: Current Requirements for PW and Alien Enemy Internment Camps, Continental 
United States. Copy in OCS 2/220-66. DRB, TAG. 

33 Memo, Mai Gen A. W. Gullion for CofS, 27 Sep 41, sub: Disposition of detained 
members of alien men of war, PMGO 014.33, Gen PW #1, 1941 (S>. DRB, TAG. 

The World War I Army— Navy PW agreement was again confirmed in substance on 
10 Oct 41, but certain administrative procedures were simplified. See : Memo, Brig Gen 
Wade H. Haislip, ACofS, for CofS, £) Oct 41, sub : Continuance of Regulations re Naval 
Prisoners of War (C). Case 21227:21, OCS Files. DRB, TAG. 



To meet this possibility, G-l suggested that The Provost Marshal 
General resubmit a request for the immediate construction of one 
permanent internment camp. Although this was done in September 
1941, the request was disapproved for lack of funds. 33 Thus, the 
United States entered World War II with no permanent internment 
camps in use or under construction. 

35 Memo, Brig Gon Wade H. Haislip, ACofS, G-l, for CofS, 2G Sep 41, sub: Custody 
Of foreign seamen turned over to the Armv by the Navy Department (S). Case 21227 : 16. 
OCS Files. DRB, TAG. 

Chapter 7 
Early Policies 

United States Application of International Law in World War II 

The Geneva Prisoner of War Convention states: "The provisions 
of the present Convention must be respected by the High Contracting 
Parties under all circumstances. In case, in time of war, one of the 
belligerents is not a party to the Convention, its provisions shall never- 
theless remain in force as between the belligerents who are parties 
thereto." 1 

When war was declared, the U. S. State Department requested the 
Swiss Government to inform the enemy nations that the United States 
would comply with the Geneva Prisoner of War and Red Cross Con- 
ventions of 1929. It also requested the Swiss Government to obtain 
and transmit the intentions of Germany, Italy, and Japan. 2 The 
enemy nations soon obliged and indicated that they would observe 
their convention obligations. 3 

i The United States also attempted to extend the convention's humane 
provisions to interned enemy aliens by defining prisoners of war as 
t; . . . every person captured or interned by a belligerent power. . . ." 4 
Japan, however, declined this definition and stated : "During the whole 
of the present war the Japanese Government . will apply, mutatis 
mutandis, and subject to reciprocity, the articles of the Convention 
concerning prisoners of war to noncombatant internees of enemy coun- 
tries, on condition that the belligerent States do not subject them 
against their will to manual labour." 5 

iAi-t, 82. 

2 Xelg 330 and 331, Sec of State (Hull) for American Legation at Bern, IS Dec 41. 
Records Service Center, State Dept. 

a Japan, having signed but not ratified the convention, announced her de factor adherence. 
See : Report of the International Red Cross Committee,, I, pp. 442-43 ; telg, 7 Feb 42. 
State Dept File 740,00114 European War 1939/2108, Records Service Center, State Dept ; 
TM 27—251, "Treaties Governing Land Warfare," p, iv. 

l FM 27-10, "Rules of Land Warfare, 1940," par. 70. 

* Report of t?ie International Red Gross Committee, pp. 442-43. 




To secure J apan's consent, the United States modified the definition, 
eliminating the right to require interned civilian enemy aliens to work. 
Thus, civilian internees could not be validly classified as prisoners of 
war in the full sense of the term. Japan's adherence to the convention 
mutatis mutandis — that is, it reserved the right to change certain non- 
essential features — permitted the United States leeway in ministering 
to Japanese PW's. 

Throughout World War II, the U. S. State Department conducted 
numerous negotiations through neutral powers with the enemy nations 
with reference to the labor, pay, treatment, exchange, and repatriation 
of prisoners of war." Close adherence was paid to all international 
agreements affecting these prisoners." 1 " 

Adherence to the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention 

The Geneva PW Convention made the repatriation of seriously sick 
and wounded prisoners of war, regardless of rank or numbers, an obli- 
gation on the part of the belligerents. It also stated that repatriated 
prisoners could not be restored to active military service. 

The nearest approach to a general exchange during World War II 
occurred when the United States and Germany mutually agreed to 
exchange sick and wounded prisoners of war and a limited number of 
sanitary personnel. By a modified contract, both agreed to retain 
certain protected sanitary, medical, and religious personnel to serve 
the needs of their countrymen who were detained as prisoners of war. 
The number retained was to be in proportion to the number of pris- 
oners of the same nationality. Those in excess were to be repatriated 
upon giving their parole not to assume combat duties. This parole 
requirement was an incidental and not an integral part of the Ameri- 
can PW utilization program; it was in the nature of a retaliatory 
action on the part, of the United States to counteract certain enemy 
propaganda. 8 

The War Department made but one attempt to achieve head for 
head exchange during World War II. The United States and Ger- 
many negotiated to exchange head for head a small number of 
German PW's, who had been sentenced to death for the murder of 

'The neutral powers or "Protecting Powers" looked after the interests of the belligerent 
nations. The United States conducted its negotiations with Germany and Italy through 
Switzerland, and -with Japan through Spain. Both Switzerland and Spain were neutrals 
during World War II. 

T During the war, American military spokesmen repeatedly asserted that the Geneva 
PW Convention had the binding effect of law in governing the conduct of American 
military personnel, towards such prisoners. See r Testimony, Brig Gen B. M, Bryan in 
Hearings before a Subcommittee of HR, 79tli Cong., 2d sess., on "Military Appropriations 
Bill," pp. 287-89, 

s Summary Sheet, ACofS, G-2, to 0PD, the Cof S, and the SW, 6 Mar 45, sub : 
Repatriation of Surplus German Enlisted Protected Personnel. OCS 383.6, sec. VI. 



fellow prisoners, for an equal number of American soldiers condemned 
to a similar fate by the Germans. The exchange was never consum- 
mated : during the spring of 1945, before negotiations were completed, 
Allied forces overran the German territory containing the condemned 
Americans and freed them from German control. 9 However, by ne- 
gotiating for the exchange of these prisoners of war, it can be assumed 
that the United States recognized the principle of the legitimate use 
of captured enemy personnel as means of exchange. 


The planners for prisoner of war employment during World War 
II considered the provision of the Geneva PW Convention that pro- 
hibited work directly concerned with military operations as not ap- 
plicable to that necessary for food, shelter, and clothing, even though 
the armed forces might derive some benefit. However, they did de- 
cide that the prisoners could not work on projects solely of value to 
active war operations. For example, PW's could manufacture trucks 
and truck parts, some of which would be used by the general public 
while others would eventually be used by the military. But they 
could not be employed in manufacturing parts that were exclusively 
used on tanks. Some PW's did make camouflage nets, whose pro- 
tective purposes could be applied to many fields. Similarly, work on 
gas masks was also permitted. PW's also worked in agriculture, in 
food processing, and in clothing plants, although some soldiers in 
combat eventually benefited from their labor. 

Labor Pay 

In 1942 the United States lacked an agreement with the enemy na- 
tions that would establish the minimum labor rate to be paid prisoners 
of war. Therefore, the War Department set the rate at 80 cents a 
day per prisoner employed, roughly based on the $21 a month paid the 
American private in 1941, 10 

At the request of the War Department, the Department of State 
proposed to the enemy powers that all PW's be paid for their labor 
at this same rate, but this was not to include work necessary for PW 
administration and maintenance. 11 Germany replied that internal 
conditions prevented her from paying the suggested rate, and Italy 
and Japan did not respond to the American proposal. Nevertheless, 
the United States continued throughout the war to pay the PW's in 

» See G-3 Operations Division Files. DEB, TAG ; sea also : "History of the PMGO," 
op. Cit., pp. 467-71. 

10 PMGO, "Prisoner of War Operations," 1945, I, p. 90.- 4^4.3AB. OCMH, Gen Ref 
Off. ; see also : AG Ltr Order, 24 Aug 43, sub : Employment of Prisoners of War Off 
Reservations. AG 383.8 (23 Aug 43). Copy in PMGO "War Department Policies re 
Prisoners of War." (S). DEB, TAG. 

11 1st Inu\ Ch, -Aliens Div, PMGO, to TAG, 29 Oct 42, sub: Prisoners of War. PMGO 
383,9 Labor (S). DRB, TAG. - 



canteen coupons, or credited to a trust fund, the 80 cents a day (or 3 
Swiss francs) for labor both, in the States and in Europe. In addition, 
each PW was given 10 cents a day gratuitously to enable him to pur- 
chase certain necessities. Since Japan had accepted the PW Conven- 
tion conditionally, there was a variation in the pay rate for Japanese 
prisoners of war. 

Work performed by the PW's for their own benefit, whether within 
or outside the PW camps, had been regarded by the planners as un- 
paid work, but in actual practice became divided into both paid and 
unpaid labor. The War Department realized that the PW's morale 
would be affected and hence their labor efficiency impaired if they 
were denied an equal chance to perform paid work. Therefore, it 
ruled that necessary work within the camps that excluded the PW's 
from other remunerative labor would be classified as paid work. The 
camp commanders were to determine which jobs were necessary. 13 

The 1942 Manual 

In early 1942 the War Department set forth its basic enemy alien 
and prisoner of war policy, the first that supplemented the Geneva 
Convention, with the publication of the manual, ''Civilian Enemy 
Aliens and Prisoners of War." This guide for handling enemy per- 
sonnel was simple in nature, reflecting the convention and the methods 
used in World War I. Because of the need, for security precautions, 
the War Department considered portions of the alien and prisoner of 
war programs as being interchangeable. 13 

The 1942 manual outlined the limitations of the Geneva Conven- 
tion ; but at the same time, it stated that prisoners of war could be used 
on any work, provided it was not directly connected with war opera- 
tions or was not dangerous to the prisoners. Generally, the manual 
paraphrased the permissive provisions of the convention : "Except as 
hereafter provided, all employable internees will perform such labor 
as may be directed by the camp commander provided such labor is com- . 
mensurate with their ages, sexes and physical condition," 14 The term 
"employable internees" included those persons (officers excepted) tech- 
nically described as prisoners of war, but excluded all enemy aliens. 

PW labor was divided into two classes : Class One labor was that re- 
quired to maintain internment camps. Class Two included all other 

Ji »The pay for this work came from two sources: the Treasury of the United States 
and from canteen profits accumulated for the prisoners' benefit. See : WD PW Cir 1, 
24 Sep 43, p. 34, and PMGO, "Civilian Enemy Aliens and Prisoners ot War," 22 Apr 4.2, 
pp.. 36-87. Copy in "Prisoner of War Operations," op, cit., vol. I of Tabs. 

ls The manual directed : "To the extent possible enemy aliens and prisoners of war will 
be kept in different camps. The same type of facilities will be provided for eacii class and 
the same treatment will be accorded each class subject to certain exceptions in favor of 
officer prisoners of war." See: "Civilian Enemy Aliens and Prisoners of War," op cit., 
P. 7. 

11 Ibid., p. 36. , 



types — projects sponsored by the "War Department or other Federal 
agencies, by states or local governments, or by private employers — 
not directly connected with military operations. 

Contract employment was also authorized for individuals or agen- 
cies other than the War Department or other Federal branches. Usu- 
ally the contract, which was required for the services of the "internees," 
was between The Provost Marshal General or his authorized represent- 
ative (acting on behalf of the Secretary of War) and the prospective 
employer. The agreement regulated the type and amount of labor 
to be performed, location, working hours, the amount to be paid by 
the employer, and the workmen's accident compensation. The War 
Department agreed to guard, clothe, quarter, and transport the PW's 
and to furnish their medical care. The employer was to furnish the 
necessary work equipment, materials, and the supervision on the job. 
Thus, the April 1942 policy statement contained the principle that con- 
trol of prisoners of war at all times would remain in Army hands except 
for the extent of on-the-jpb supervision. 15 This principle was firmly 
retained throughout the war. 

The employer and the local camp commander were to agree (subject 
to the approval of the PMG) to the amount to be paid the United 
States for PW labor, but it could not be less than 80 cents a day per 
prisoner. Outside the United States, the theater commander was to 
establish the costs to any employer other than the military services. 16 

Maximum working hours were 10 per day, including travel to and 
from the job. Employed PW's were to be allowed a 24- consecutive 
hour rest period each week, preferably on Sunday, at intervals of no 
longer than 9 days. The PW's were to perform only assigned duties 
under the direction of the using service, and were to be detailed only 
to j obs that were directly supervised. PW's could not work in or about 
the internment camp except on regular authorized and supervised 
jobs. 17 

The 1942 Army Reorganization 

Meanwhile, on 9 March 1942 .a reorganization of the Army had 
taken place. Under the reorganization the War Department General 
Staff assisted the Chief of Staff in the direction of the field operations 
of the Army of the United States. It was specifically charged with 
the duty of providing subordinate commanders with such broad basic 
plans as would enable them to prepare and execute detailed programs. 
Three zones of the interior (ZI) commands were created — Army 
Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Services of Supply — -to which 

* Ibid., pp. 38-39. 

10 This provision was not repeated in subsequent WD directives nor in TM 19-500. 
These provisions were applicable outside the continental United States only to the extent 
deemed feasible by the theater commander concerned. 

17 "Civilian Enemy Aliens and Prisoners of War," op. ait., pp. 38-39, 



were delegated duties connected with ZI administration, supply, or- 
ganization, and training. 18 All the supply arms and services and the 
technical and administrative services, plus the Engineers and Signal 
Corps, were placed under Lt. Gen. Brehon Somervell, Commanding 
General, Services of Supply (SOS). 19 In the discharge of his duties, 
the SOS commanding general was directed to use all judicious short- 
cuts in procedure to expedite the war's operations. 

The major purpose of the reorganization was to achieve decen- 
tralization and to free the General Staff from a multitude of detail, 
thereby permitting it to function as the planning and policy-determin- 
ing agency for the Chief of Staff. After the reorganization the War 
Department General Staff exerted every effort to assist the new SOS 
command in its operation. 

Before the reorganization, Personnel Division, G-l, had been re- 
sponsible for prisoner of war planning and policy determination, and 
the Office of The Provost Marshal General for their execution. The 
new plan, however, did not list this P¥ responsibility as a duty of 
G-l; it was assumed that it had been transferred, along with the 
operations of The Provost Marshal General, to the SOS Command. 
Four months later, a revised Army Regulation (AR 10-15) again 
gave the responsibility to G-l, but he did not fully exercise this au- 
thority until April of the following year. In practice, therefore, PW 
matters were generally referred to the PMG for staff action despite 
his remote position under the new Army organization. If done cor- 
rectly, this was both tedious and prolonged, and if a referral was made 
direct, as sometimes occurred, it was usually uncoordinated. 

From 9 March 1942 to April 1943, in contrast to his former Special 
Staff position, the PMG functioned under the Commanding General, 
SOS, and reported to him through the chief of Administrative Serv- 
ices and the Chief of Staff, SOS. The Civilian Personnel Division 
(later termed Industrial Personnel Division) also had limited control 
over his activities. The PMG office thus was a subordinated "operat- 
ing division" subject to various levels of coordination, staff super- 
vision, and command within- the Services of Supply. 30 In April 1943, 
after G-l resumed staff supervision over prisoner of war operations 
(coupled with later adjustments and simplifications in the organiza- 
tion of Army Service Forces [ASF], 21 The Provost Marshal Gen- 
eral was restored to a more favorable position. By June 1945, he re- 
ported directly to the Chief of Staff, ASF, as a full staff advisor. He 
also had administrative supervision over PW operations and made 
detailed pl ans for the approval of G-l. [See chart 3.} 

* WD Cir 59, 2 Mar 42, sub : WD Reorganization. 

^ 0m t r / 6 " imme(liatel y bcf ° r e ««5 reorganization Lad been- die WD ACofS, G-4. 
»WD Cir 59, 2 Mar 42, WD Reorganization Chart I) ; Otto L. Nelson, Jr., National 
Security and The General Staff (Washington, 1946) , chart 16 p S83 

21 Services of Supply (SOS) became Army Service Forces (AS1T) 12 Mar 43. 




















ao£^E/j£Oi±lr- ■ 




«<< s 

< J <T 



" 8 



The Alien Internment Program 

While work was proceeding on the 1942 manual, the internment 
program was gaining momentum. Funds were allocated to local and 
oversea commanders to construct initial or additional temporary 
facilities as needed. In addition, The Quartermaster General was 
directed to begin the immediate construction of a permanent alien 
enemy camp on the Florence Military Reservation in Arizona.' 2 
While work was proceeding on the permanent camp, 10 emergency 
camps were established by the service command concerned on Army 
posts strategically located on each coast and the United States land 
frontiers to impound the expected internees. 23 Two additional 3,000- 
man camps and one 500-man officer prisoner of war camp were author- 
ized in January 1942, plus planning for two more 3,000-man camps 
if needed. 24 The increase in the number and the reduced size of the 
permanent camps violated the existing agreement between the Sec- 
retary of War and The Attorney General. But with the latter 's con- 
sent, it was amended to permit the Secretary of War to locate and 
determine the size of the camps at his discretion. This removed any 
obstacle to the construction program. 

Meanwhile, the War Department wanted to move many alien enemy 
civilians from the west coast for security reasons. To prepare for 
this, the PMG, together with G-4, selected specific sites for additional 
camps in the Southwest. By March, the estimated number to be 
interned reached approximately 100,000 ; consequently the immediate 
construction of nine additional permanent alien camps and one officer 
prisoner of war camp was authorized for the sites selected. 25 Four- 
teen additional camps were also in the planning stage. However, the 
number of interned alien enemies never approached the March 1942 
figure; as a result, the permanent camps under construction (costing 
approximately $50,000,000) as well as those in the planning stage 
became largely unneeded for their original purpose. Later they were 
used to intern prisoners of war. 

53 The camp was to have- an initial capacity of 3,000 internees, capable of expansion to 
0,000 plus overhead. It was to cost an estimated $4,800,000. See : Memo, Gen Somervell, 
ACofS, G-4, for TAG, 9 Dee 41, sub : Construction of Facilities for the Internment of 
Alien Enemies and other Prisoners of War. PMGO 255 Gen PW #1 (Sep 41 thru Dec 42) 
(C). DEB, TAG. 

43 1944 Regional Conference, PW Commanders, "Put Prisoners on Organized Well 
Planned Work," p. 5. PMGO A 48-225/76. DRB, TAG. 

31 These camps were to be. completed by August 1942 and each was to cost $2,500,000. 
See: Memo, Maj Gen A. W. Gullion for CofS, 3 Mar 42, sub : Current Requirements for 
Prisoners of War and Alien Enemy Internment Camps, Continental U. S. ; memo, Col C. IT. 
Searcy, Ch, Requirements Div, SOS, for Cn of Engrs, IS Mar 42, sub : Current Require- 
ments for Prisoners of War and Enemy Alien Camps, Continental U. S. Both filed in 
AG 014.311 (1-13-41) (C). DRE, TAG. 

23 Memo, Maj Gen A. W. Gullion to Ch of Admin Scs, SOS, 22 Mar 42, sub : Current 
Requirements for Prisoners of War and Alien Enemy Internment Camps in Continental 
U.S. AG 01.4.311 (2) (3-22-42). DRB, TAG. 



The Proposed Transfer of British Prisoners 

Early in 1942 the War Department directed the transfer of all 
captured enemy personnel to custody within the United States, except 
those taken by the Navy at some distance. This was done to relieve 
overseas forces from the problems of guarding, feeding, and housing 
prisoners of war. But very few prisoners of war were captured by 
U. S. forces in 1942. 2G 

In August of that year Great Britain proposed that the. United 
States intern 50,000 British-captured prisoners of war on one month's 
notice, and an additional 100,000 on three months' notice. The British 
Charge cl'Affaires stated that any sudden influx of prisoners by whole- 
sale captures would overtax accommodations in the British Empire. 27 
Because of the urgent nature of this appeal, it was referred to the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff and by them to the Joint Staff Planners ( JPS) . 
Since these prisoners of war would have to be quartered in the United 
States, Lt. Gen. Joseph T. McNarney, Deputy Chief of Staff, directed 
the JPS to approach the question from the point of view of its effect 
on the overall war effort rather than upon any inconvenience it might 
cause. 28 General Somervell concurred with this view and directed 
the SOS to give unqualified support. 

The JPS, in its reply, recommended that only 50,000 PWs be ac- 
cepted for custody in the United States and suggested that the remain- 
ing 100,000 be interned in Canada and employed on such work as the 
Alcan Highway project. It thought the presence of such a large 
number . of prisoners' of war in the United States would constitute a 
security hazard to the many U. S. war industries. The JPS had 
assumed that the majority of these recommended 50,000 would be 
unskilled laborers; therefore, it suggested that PW camps be estab- 
lished in the following type areas where mass employment of the 
prisoners would be possible : 

1. Forests (conservation), 

2. Agricultural regions (mass farming), 

?>. Areas where roads were to be constructed, airfields built, and 
where other construction involving manual labor was planned. 

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, however, decided that it was impractical 
to split the 150,000 prisoners and agreed to accept them with the 
understanding that the War Department be given a minimum of one 
month's notice before receipt of the first consignment of 50,000. One 
month's notice was also to be given for each consignment thereafter. 

2li By May 1042 only 32 prisoners of war were internee! in tho United States ; by August, 
65 ; by November, 431 ; and by 31 December 1,881. On the other hand 1 , by December 1942, 
enemy aliens Internet! amounted to approximately 4,000. See ; "Prisoner of War Oper- 
ations," op. Cit., pp. 31-35. 

27 Great Britain then held 23,000 German and 250,000 Italian prisoners of war. 

= a See : OCS 383.6 {29 Sep 43) <S) . DRE, TAG. 

338293—55 7 



No shipping was to be specifically diverted to delivery of the prisoners 
of war into U. S. custody. 29 

Prisoner of War Planning 

The decision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff initiated specific activity 
for prisoner of war policy, plans, and operations as distinguished 
from that for interned aliens. 30 Plans were made for the necessary 
construction, for the security of the prisoners, and for their 

The Construction Program 

In September 1942 The Provost Marshal General submitted the 
required plans. The construction plan, of necessity, was divided into 
two parts. The first part determined the method of distribution of 
the 50,000 prisoners of war (who were to arrive in 30 days) to exist- 
ing facilities. The PMG planned to house approximately 75 percent 
in unused camps in the Southwest (Eighth Service Command) which 
had been constructed or were under construction for enemy aliens. At 
this time, existing temporary camps in the corps areas and the com- 
pleted permanent camps in the Southwest could accommodate only 
32,000 prisoners since approximately 175 PW's and 4,000 enemy 
aliens were already in confinement. To provide for the 6,000 addi- 
tional civilian aliens who were expected after 16 September and for 
the balance of the prisoners of war, the PMG requested that the com- 
pletion date of the facilities under construction be advanced. This 
would add 22,500 spaces to the total capacity and would provide ample 
room for the expected first shipment. Because of the uncertainty 
of the construction program, the PMG also sought available sites on 
military installations where temporary housing (which would later 
be converted into permanent camps) could be quickly erected to care 
for approximately 20,000 more prisoners of war. [See table l.J 

Table 1. Completed, Under Construction, and Authorized Internment Camps 
in Zone of Interior, 15 Sept 1942 * 

1. Permanent camps. 

(a) Completed. Cap(Wity 

Camp Clark, Mo 3 qqq 

Florence, Ariz 3 qqq 

Camp Forrest, Tenn 3 qqo 

* Source : Tab A, Memo, Maj Gen George Grunert, CIi, Adm. Sves, SOS, to CG, SOS, 
15 Sep 42, sub : Plan for acceptance of Custody of Prisoners of War Taken by the United 
Nations. Copy in OCS 383.6 (29 Sep 43) (S). DRB, TAG. 

^ Extract from Minutes, JCS-323 meeting, 8 Sep 42, rtem 5 ; Eeport by the Joint U. S. 
Staff Planners, 7 Sep 42, sub : Acceptance of Custody of Prisoners of War taken by the 
United Nations. JCS 64/2. All in OPD 383.6 (POW) Sec. I, Case 21 (S). DEB TAG 

a° See entire file OCS 383.6 (29 Sep 43) (S) for details of this planning and correspond- 
ence pertaining thereto ; see also : OPD 383.6 (POW) sec. I, Case 21 (S). DRB, TAG. 



Table 1. Completed, Under Construction, and Authorised Internment Camps 
in Zone of Interior, 15 Sept. 191$ — Continued 

1. Permanent camps — Continued. 

(a) Completed— Continued. Capacity 

Huntsvllle, Tex 3, 000 

Camp Livingston, La 5, 000 

Lordsburg, N. Mex i : 3, 000 

McAlister, Okla 3,000 

Roswell, N. Mex 3, 000 

Stringtown, Oltla 400 

Subtotal 26,400 

(b) Under construction, completion expected. 

Alva, Okla. (12-15-42) 3,000 

Crossville, Tenn. (11-15-42)1 ^ 1,500 

Hearne, Tex. (11-30-42) 3,000 

Hereford, Tex. (l'2-15-42) ^ 3,000 

Mexia, Tex. (12-30-42) 3,000 

Monticello, Ark. (?) 3, 000 

Ruston, La. (?) 3,000 

Weingarten, Mo. (12-15-42) 3, 000 

Subtotal 22,500 

( e ) ■ Authorized 9 Sep. 42. 

Tonkawa, Okla. (12-15-42) 3,000 

McLeon, Tex. (12-15-42) 3,000 

Como, Miss. (12-15-12) ., 3,000 

Aliceville, Ala. (12-15-42) 6,000 

Concordia, Kans. (12-15-42) 3,000 

Florence, Ariz, (increase, 12-15-^2) 3, 000 

Subtotal , 21,000 

2. Temporary camps. a 

Camp Blanding, Fla 200 

Fort Bliss, Tex „ 1, 350 

Fort Bragg, N. C 140 

Fort Devens, Mass 1,000 

Fort Meade, Md 1, 680 

Camp McCoy, Wis 100 

Fort Oglethorpe, Ga 948 

Fort Sam Houston, Tex 1, 000 

Camp Shelby, Miss 1,200 

Fort Sill, Okla , 700 

Subtotal 8, 318 

Grand total 78, 218 

» Author's note : These camps were provided by the corps areas and originally intended 
for the internment of civilian aliens pending the construction of the "permanent" intern- 
ment facilities. 



In planning for the second incoming group of 100,000, The Provost 
Marshal General anticipated that the principal burden for PW hous- 
ing would rest upon the Fourth, Seventh, and Eighth Service Com- 
mands in the South and Southwest. This was based on two factors: 
First, security regulations in coastal zones restricted the further selec- 
tion of PW camp sites; second, the location of camps in mild climate 
areas would hold internment costs to a minimum. To accommodate 
this larger group, the PMG recommended construction of additional 
camps to provide for 144,000 prisoners of war. Emergency housing, 
such as tentage, was to provide for the 100,000; and the additional 
44,000 spaces were to care for U. S.-captured prisoners of war and 
for normal increments from other sources. To provide sites for this 
housing, the War Department modified its policy that previously re- 
stricted construction to mild climate areas below 40° latitutude. 31 

Guard Personnel 

In 1942 only 36 military police escort companies had been activated. 
To guard the PW's on hand and the 50,000 to be received, the PMG 
requested that 32 additional companies be activated immediately in 
the ratio of 1 company per 1,000 prisoners. He also requested that 
100 additional units be authorized in the same ratio, so their training 
could commence at once. The Deputy Chief of Staff, however, ap- 
proved only the requested 32 new escort guard companies and author- 
ized the immediate assignment of limited service personnel from 
reception centers to the guard companies. 

Employment Provisions 

The PMG, in his plan for the British prisoners of war, stated : 

* * * * * * $ 

0. Tile plan to utilize available areas within certain posts, camps and sta- 
tions [the suggested 'emergency construction] contemplates the distribution 
of the prisoners' through various cantonments where prisoner labor detach- 
ments may be used to relieve Service Troops. In addition, the Quarter- 
master has been requested to consider the employment of prisoners of war 
at Quartermaster Depots and Remount stations. I believe that, under the 
provisions of the Geneva Convention, 1929, prisoners of war may be used 
at posts, camps and stations for maintenance and repairs of roads "and utili- 
ties, in handling Quartermaster supplies and in the maintenance of station 
facilities. A general program along these lines will be devised for dissemi- 
nation among those concerned. a " 
The plan made no specific reference to the use of prisoners of war in 
agriculture ; but the Chief of Administrative Services, in forwarding 
it to General Somervell, added, "The plan also envisages the utili- 

31 Security restrictions still prevented the location of internment camps in the eastern 
and western defense commands bordering on the coasts. 

31 2d Ind, Maj Gen Allen W. Gullion to Ch, Adm Sves, SOS, 11 Sep 42 Copy in OCS 
383.6 (29 Sep 43) (S). DRB, TAG. 



zation of large numbers of these prisoners on agricultural and other 
projects not under War Department supervision where there is a 
recognized shortage in unskilled labor." 33 The entire "plan for ac- 
ceptance of custody of prisoners of war taken by the United Nations," 
as approved by General Somervell, concluded with, "Additional infor- 
mation as to work which may be performed by prisoners of war will 
be furnished at an early date." 

In mid-September, the plan was referred to The Judge Advocate 
General for review. Col. Archibald King, Chief, War Plans Di- 
vision, Office of The Judge Advocate General, ruled the Alcan High- 
way was a military road undertaken in wartime for military reasons 
and specifically disapproved the employment of prisoners of war on it, 
basing* his disapproval on the prohibition against work directly re- 
lated to war operations as contained in the Geneva Convention. He 
commented : "The employment of prisoners of war for building a road 
to be used for transportation is within the spirit and purpose, if not 
the letter, of the foregoing prohibition; and is equally objectionable. 
It is work directly and greatly helping the war effort of the United 
States and the United Nations, in which our enemies should not be 
expected or required to engage." He cautioned further that the 
adoption of such a plan might cause the Axis powers to retaliate 
against American prisoners of war. 

This' interpretation of Article 31 w T ould have limited PW employ- 
ment on military installations in the Zone of the Interior or in the 
rear areas of combat theaters and would have negated many of the 
proposals made by The Provost Marshal General. General Gullion 
therefore protested vigorously and contended that Colonel King's 
interpretation of Article 31 was incongruous with the interpretation 
given it by other belligerent nations as evidenced by their practices in 
the war. 35 He further contended the Geneva Convention of 1929 and 
its precedents showed an intent on the part of the participating 
nations to authorize the extensive use of PW's in time of war. The 
nations in their discussions at these conventions had refused to place 
too many restrictions on the use of such labor or to accept any rigid 
definitions of the few agreed upon. General Gullion argued that the 
attitude of the delegates inferred the intent to leave the matter of 
application, clarification, and, within reason, interpretation, to the 
discretion of the contracting powers. 

Although he admitted interpretations of the labor provisions of 
the 1929 Convention were meager and scattered, General Gullion re- 

38 Memo, Maj Gen George Grunert, Ch, Adm Svcs, SOS, to CG, SOS, 15 Sep 42, sub: 
Plan for acceptance of Custody of Prisoners of War taken by the United Nations. JMtf. 

»» Memo, Col A. King, Ch, War Plans Div, JAGO, for TJAG, 25 Sep 42, sub ; Labor of 
Prisoners of War. AG 383.6 (10-30-42) (1). DRB, TAG. 

86 2d Ind, Mai Gen A. W. Gullion, to Ch, Adm Svcs, 20 Oct 42, sub : Labor for Prisoners 
of War. Ibid. 



emphasized that the import of the provisions was that an individual 
PW should not be compelled to do work unhealthful or dangerous 
to himself (Art. 32) or directly harmful to the state he was serving 
as a soldier (Art. 31 ) . In view of the above, the PMG recommended a 
less restrictive view be adopted in interpreting Article 31 of the Geneva 
Convention. He wanted permissible work defined as . . any work 
not in a theater of operations and not concerned' with the manufac- 
ture or transportation of arms or munitions or the transportation of 
any material intended for combatant units and not unhealthful, dan- 
gerous, degrading, menial, or beyond the particular prisoners ca- 
pacity." This he stated, would conform to the convention and with 
the practices of other nations. In November, the War Department 
approved these recommendations. 33 

Meanwhile, the Joint Chiefs of Staff notified The Provost Marshal 
General that they had agreed to accept an additional 25,000 Italian 
prisoners of war then interned by the British in Kenya Colony, 
Africa. These were expected to arrive within 30 days. Although no 
notice had been received as to the shipment of the original 150.000 
P W s, it now appeared that as many as 75,000 prisoners of war would 
arrive in the United States before the end of the year. 37 General 
McNarney suggested that these PW's be employed in agriculture and 
directed that they be housed in localities where they could be used. 38 
In December 1942 Gen. George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, suggested 
that the incoming Italians be used within Army hospitals and can- 
tonments in order to reduce the Army's demands upon civilian labor. 
Drawing upon his experience in France during World War I, General 
Marshall recalled their use as transient harvest labor and their em- 
ployment in mines and on similar tasks. Referring to security, a 
factor always present in the handling of prisoners, he commented : 

. . the business of guarding could be carried out on a limited basis 
and the escape of a few prisoners would not be too bad in its effect." 33 
The general stated that very few guards were used with certain 
classes of German prisoners working on farms in France in 1918. 
Thus emphasis was again placed on the necessity for an employment 


• Memo, Lt Gen Brenon Somervell, CG, SOS, for Sec, GS, IS Jan 43 sub : Labor of 
Prisoners of War ; memo, J. J. McCloy, ASW, for the ACofS, OPD, 6 Nov 42 ■ DF Brig 
Gen L H. Edwards, ACofS, OPD, to CofS, 4 Nov 42, sub : Labor of Prisoners of' War 
Copies in iMd. 

w The minimum forecast informally received had been that approximately 27,000 
prisoners could be expected by 1 Feb 43. See: Memo, Brig Gen B, M. Bryan, Asst PMG 
for ACofS, OPD, S Mar 43, sub : Receipt of Prisoners of War from the UK. ' G-l 383 6 
Labor {1 Apr 43) (S). DRB, TAG. . 

»»Memo, Col M. Pearson, Exec Off, Hq, SOS, for PMG, 20 Oct 42, sub: Prisoners of 
War. Ibid. 

89 Memo, Marshall for Somervell, 1 Dee 42, sub: Employment of Italian Prisoners of 
War. PMGO 253.5 (1943), DEB, TAG. 



The approved. PMG plan and comments were then forwarded to the 
Secretary of State for comment on the appropriateness of the state- 
ment defining permissible work. At the same time a copy was also 
sent to Lt. Gen. D wight D. Eisenhower, Commanding General, Eu- 
ropean Theater. In reply, General Eisenhower thought the phrase 
"any work not in a theater of operations" as proposed by the PMG 
would prohibit the employment of prisoners of war in the European 
Theater. Therefore, he proposed the substitution of the words "any 
work not under fire in a combat zone." 40 

On 10 December 1942 the Secretary of State replied, making sev- 
eral recommendations for improving the proposed policy statement, 
especially with reference to the requirements of the Geneva Conven- 
tion. He suggested prohibiting prisoners of war from handling sup- 
plies or material unmistakably destined for combatant units, but not 
from handling commodities that might eventually be used by them. 
The Secretary also suggested that any words that implied the in- 
clusion of work too closely related to war operations and which might 
subject the American Government to charges of violations of Article 
31 of the convention be eliminated. The Department of State desired 
to be in a strong position to protest the nature of work given Ameri- 
cans who were in enemy custody should it become necessary. 41 

The changes suggested by the Secretary of State and General Eisen- 
hower were incorporated into the basic plan; and on 10 January 1943 
an approved revised statement entitled "War Department Policy with 
Respect to Labor of Prisoners of War" was published. 42 This direc- 
tive stated that all PW employment articles of the convention be 
observed, and specified that : 

Any work outside the combat zones not having a direct relation with war 
operations and not involving the manufacture or transportation of arms 
or munitions or the transportation of any material clearly intended for 
combatant units, and not unhealthful, dangerous, degrading, or beyond the 
particular prisoner's 'physical capacity, is allowable and desirable. 

Thus the labor articles of the convention were interpreted as permit- 
ting PW's located outside the combat zone to transport and to load 
and unload supplies, other than arms or munitions, even though some 
of the commodities might eventually be used by combatant troops. 

Permissible work suggested for the PW's, other than for self- 
maintenance, included : employment in War Department owned and 
operated laundries ; brush clearance and construction of firebreaks ; 
mosquito control; soil conservation and agricultural projects; con- 

*°Note for Record, undated. OPD 383.6 (POW), sec. I, case 21 (S). DRB, TAG. 

^Ltr, Sec State [Hull] to SW [Stimson] 10 Dec 42. Copy in AG 383.6 (10-30-42) 
(1). DRB, TAG; memo, ASW J, J. McCloy for Brig Gen Bryan, 6 Jan 43, and 1st Ind 
thereon, PMGO 253,5 (1943) (C). DRB, TAG. 

43 AG Ltr, 10 Jan 43, sub : War Department Policy with Respect to Labor of Prisoners 
of War, AG 383.C (10-30-42) (1), DRB, TAG. 



struction and repair of highways and drainage ditches ; strip mining' 
and quarrying ; and other similar work. All questionable work that 
might violate the convention was to be .referred to The Provost Mar- 
shal General iior decision before it was undertaken. 

The Prisoners Arrive 

The expected influx of enemy aliens in 1942 never materialized, and 
before April 1943 less than 5,000 prisoners of war had reached the 
United States. By mid- August, however, the total exceeded 130,000. 
[See table B.'j The successful North African campaign had resulted 
in wholesale captures of prisoners of war by both American and 
British forces. 43 

Table 2. Monthly Census of Prisoners of War Interned in Continental 

United States* 

End of month 






September . 


December _ 



February. . 







September - 





February „ _ 






•"Source: ASF WD Monthly Progress 


1, 881 

2, 365 
2, 444 
2, 755 
5, 007 

36, 083 
' 53, 435 

80, 558 
130, 299 
163, 706 
167, 748 
1.71, 484 
172, 879 

174, 822 
177, 387 
183, 618 
184, 502 
186, 368 
Reports, sec. 





1, 026 

1, 334 

2, 14.6 
22, 110 
34, 161 
54, 502 
94, 220 

115, 358 
119, 401 

122, 350 

123, 440 

124, 880 
127, 252 
133, 135 
133, 967 
135, 796 
11, Administration. 



1, 31.7 

1, 313 
1, 356 

1, 359 

2, 799 
13, 911 
19, 212 
25, 969 
35, 986 
48, 253 

48, 252 

49, 039 
49, 323 

49, 826 

49, 993 

50, 136 
5,0, 168 
50, 164 

4S At the beginning of the North African campaign, it was agreed that all PW's captured 
in northwest Africa would be American-owned. See : Memo A, Hq, SHAEF' G-l Div, 
20 Sop 44, sub : Agreements and Policies on control of PW's captured in Joint British/US 
Operations. Misc. 383.6 (POW-ETO) . OCMH, Gen lief Office. 



Tails 2. Monthly Census of Prisoners of War Interned in Continental 
United States — Continued 

End of month 





1 QAA- 

June . 

lUo, y4o 

146, 101 

50, 278 


Till 17 


224, ODD 

173, 980 

50, 276 


A 1 1 fVl 1 + 

1D2, otttS 

S. O 0*70 

50, 272 


O^jpUclilUv!! — ^ , _ ,. ... 

ouu, ooz 

niQ fine 
248, ZUt> 

01, 034 

1, 143 

*J no f\KK 

245, its! 

51, 032 

1, 242 


*3 Kf\ A K 
OOU, 400 

<iU0, 500 

51, loo 

2, 443 

JJULcIilUct _ ^ . ^ ^ „ _ _ _ , 

Qftfi Oct 

o06, 08 1 

51, Of 1 

2, 629 

1 A vi ii *r 

odu, bo/ 

.506, 30b 

50, 561 

2, 820 

February_, ^ „ 

yen nr\£ 

307, 404 

50, 571 

3, 021 

Marcn .. 

365, 954 

312, 144 

50, 550 

3, 260 


399, 518 

345, 920 

50, 304 

3, 294 

May . _ _ .. .. . . . 

425, 871 

371, 683 

50, 273 

3, 915 

June . . ... 

425, 806 

371, 505 

50, 052 

4, 249 


.j oo 1 n r\ 

422, 130 

367, 513 

49, 789 

4, 828 

August _ . 

415, my 

361, 322 

49, 184 

5, 413 

September. . _. . 

403, 311 

355, 458 

42, 915 

4, 938 

October , _ 

391, 145 

351, 150 

35, 065 

4, 930 

XfrjVRITlljf'l 1 

OlJO, ^ 4. J 

Oil 1, i>^o 

4i Jj OOVj 

<I, jit) ( 


341, 016 

3.13, 234 

25, 696 

2, 086 

1946: ■ 

January. _ . „ 

286, 611 

275, 078 

11, 532 



208, 965 

208, 403 



March '..„_ 

140, 606 

140, 572 



April . _ 

84, 209 

84, 177 




37, 491 

37, 400 



June tt ... 





* There were 32,000 P W's on military and civilian work projects which terminated 15 June 1946. All 
P W's were repatriated by SO June 1946 except 141 Germans, 20 Italians, and 1 Japanese serving sentences in 
U. S. penal institutions. 

With the prisoners arriving in such numbers, The Provost Marshal 
General directed that they be segregated in different camps by na- 
tionality and category. 44 Officer prisoners of war were interned in 
the same camps but in different compounds from the enlisted prisoners. 
To decentralize functions as much as possible, the PMG authorized 
the service commands concerned to transfer the PW's at their discre- 

" 4 PW camps were set up for the following categories : 

a. German Army anti-Nazi prisoners. 

b. The remaining Gorman Army prisoners. 

c. German Navy anti-Nazi prisoners, 

d. The remaining German Navy prisoners, 
o. Italian prisoners. 

f, Japanese prisoners. 

See : Ltr, Brig Gen B. M. Bryan to CG, 1st Sve Cmd, 8 Mar 43, sub : Transfer of Internees 
within Service Commands. PMGO 383.6 (S), DRR, TAG. 



tion within the commands, provided the categories were not mixed. 
But any such transfers had to be reported. The PMG also reserved 
the right to designate and transfer those to be considered as anti- 
Nazis. (Russians, captured in German uniforms, were considered as 
German prisoners of war.) 45 The permanent PW inclosures could 
set up temporary branch camps, but no additional housing could be 
constructed. However, tents and former CCC buildings could be and 
were used. 46 

The prior planning for the expected British-captured prisoners of 
war proved adequate for internment purposes for those received from 
northwest Africa, but employment policies were limited in scope. 
However, the plans made for prisoner of war employment in 1942 
formed the groundwork for the extensive PW employment program 
which was soon to develop. 

a Ibid. 

'"Memo, AG, Hq, ASF, to CG's, 2d to 9th Svc Cmds, 22 Jul 43, sub: Temporary 
Prisoner of War Camps. OPD 383.6, Prisoners of War (Sec. IVa), Case 139 (S). DUG, 

Chapter 8 
The Italian Service Units 

On 8 September 1943 Italy capitulated and soon thereafter declared 
war on the German Reich. Because of its stand, the Allied Govern- 
ments accorded Italy the status of a cobelligerent. The surrender 
of Italy permitted the employment of its prisoners of war on work 
directly connected with military operations since it was interpreted 
as not harmful to the surrendered government. However, the Allied 
Governments continued in force those restrictions contained in the 
Geneva Convention that protected the personal safety, health, and 
well-being of the Italian prisoners of war. 1 

The Limited Parole System 

Shortly after Italy was granted its cobelligerent status, the War 
Department permitted certain Italian prisoners to work, under a 
limited parole, on military installations or on certain projects that 
had been certified by the War Manpower Commission. The parole 
system was introduced gradually; the prisoners selected had been 
under observation for at least six months and were deemed trust- 
worthy. The parole prisoners of war worked without guards, even 
when outside the PW camps. Each selected Italian prisoner signed 
a parole form and carried a PW identity card. Only a few prisoners 
were so employed under this system and the majority of these were 
later used in Italian service units. 2 

The Italian Service Unit Program 

In October 1943 the Secretary of War suggested that Italian 
prisoners i n the United States be used in labor companies to assist 

i Memo, Col A. King, Cb, Int Law Dlv, JAGO, for JAG, 24 May 45, sub : Effect of TTncon- 
aitional Surrender on Employment of German Prisoners of War G-l 383 6 Labor 
(1 Apr 43). DEB, TAG. 

™^? D ' AC ° fS ' ^ t0 TAG ' 17 Sep 43 > sub : Parole ° f TtaI1 an Prisoners of War. 
OCS 383.6 (2D Sep 43) (S) ; see also: Ltr, TAG, to all Svc Cmds, 24 Sep 43, sub : Italian 
Prisoners of War. PMGO 253,5, Prisoners of War (Aug 44) DRB TAG 




m the war eifort, and requested plans for units similar to those of 
the defunct Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). a In preparing the 
required plans, The Provost Marshal General worked on the follow- 
ing assumptions: all Italian prisoners of war in the United States 
would be released to the Italian Government; of these, all Fascist 
prisoners of war would be segregated and confined as military pris- 
oners by the Italian Government; the remainder would be organized 
as Italian service units to be attached to and placed under the com- 
mand of the TJ. S. Army. Therefore, the plan included these features : 
(1) Italian prisoners would be organized into numbered Italian service 
companies consisting of 5 officers and 177 enlisted men. (2) Pending 
release to the Italian Government the units would work under parole. 

(3) Approximately 20 companies would be activated progressively. 

(4) An Italian service unit headquarters would be established under 
ASb" and would be commanded by an American officer. (5) Initially,, 
the units would be employed to further the United States war effort' 
with work on military installations receiving first priority. The plan 
also included provisions for the chain of command, uniforms and 
equipment, pay and allowances, work schedules, and discipline. 4 

When the Combined Chiefs of Staff submitted this plan to General 
Eisenhower, Commander in Chief, Allied Forces, North Africa, for 
comment, he immediately objected to it. Both American and British 
forces in North Africa had already committed themselves to a policy 
of employing the Italians in a prisoner of war status. 5 To keep the 
policy uniform, the War Department adopted a new plan similar to 
the one in effect in North Africa; that is, the prisoner of war status 
was retained. However, because of possible international complica- 
tions, the War Department directed that the units be used only in the 
continental United States or in the Mediterranean Area. 6 


The new plan provided for Italian service units (ISU's) to be 
organized from volunteer Italian PW officers, noncommissioned 
officers, and enlisted men under approved tables of organization and 
equipment, less weapons. Initially two U. S. Army officers and ten 
enlisted men were to be attached to each unit for supervision ; bid 

» Ltr, TAG to CG, ASF, 11 Oct 43, sub : Prisoner of War Labor. G-l 383.6 (15 Jun 43), 
Italian Case 2 ; see also : OPB 383.6 (Sec. V-A) Case Ififi, DRB, TAG. 

*lst Ind, Msij Gen .7. L. Collins, Dir of Admin, to ACofS, G-l, 25 Oct 43, w/incl, "Plan 
for the Organization of Italian Prisoners of War." G-l 383.0 Labor (15 .Tun 43) Italian 

6 CM-OUT WS775, Eisenhower to Marshall, 30 Oct 43 (S). ACC 10000/101/4-17 383 
Prisoners of War (Tg). DRB, TAG. 

"For details concerning this decision see: OPD 383.0 (sec, VI) Case 218. DRB, TAG; 
see also : "Proclamation Issued by Marshal Badoglio on 11 October 1943." Copy in Ms! 
"Headquarters Italian Service Units" (hereafter cited as "H<j, ISU's") p g and tab a' 
4-4.1 CA. OCMH, Gen Ref Off. 



these were to be reduced, consistent with efficiency and. security, to a 
minimum of one officer and five enlisted men. 

In mid-February 1944, preliminary steps were taken to organize 
the XSU program. Army Service Forces established Headquarters, 
Italian Service Units, at Fort Wadsworth, N. Y., under the command 
of Brig. Gen. J. M. Eager, from the office of the PMG. Training 
centers for the first group of volunteers were established at Pine Camp, 
N. Y., and Fort F. E. Warren, Wyo,, for quartermaster companies; 
Camp Sutton, N". C, Camp Eucker, Ala., and Camp Claiborne, La., 
for engineer companies; at Camp Gordon Johnston, Fla., for Trans- 
portation Corps companies ; and at the Atlanta Ordnance Depot, Ga., 
for ordnance companies. 

Army Service Forces retained the following responsibilities for 
ISU's : (1) the formulation of basic plans, policies, and procedures for 
the ISU's; (2) the designation and strength of the units to be acti- 
vated; (3) the establishment of training doctrines; and (4) the prepa- 
ration of training programs. The latter was later delegated to the 
technical services. Service commands were responsible for all other 
ISU functions and activities. 7 

A progressive activation schedule was adopted which called for the 
organization of 600 PW's during the first week in March 1944; 1,000 
for each, of the first two weeks in April ; 3,000 the third week ; and 4,000 
each succeeding week thereafter. 8 Some military installations, which 
were already using Italian PW's, were designated to form volunteer 
units and to give on-the-job training. Those not designated were in 
structed to ship their PW's, as rapidly as work schedules permitted, 
to the training centers or to the other posts giving on-the-job training. 
The units formed and trained at the technical service centers were 
assigned to Headquarters, Italian Service Units, which then attached 
them to Class I or IV installations for work. On those posts where 
ISU's were to be formed, Army Service Forces issued activation 
orders for the units as soon as enough PW's volunteered for duty. 
Service commands and Class IV installations classified the PWs ac- 
cording to military occupation specialty (MOS) and main civilian 
occupation, and organized them into labor companies similar to 
American units. [See table -?.] This brought the labor companies to 
table of organization strength. Excess PW personnel were shipped 
to the training centers where they were used as fillers for new ISU 
units. 10 

?Ltr, H<j, ASP, to DCoi'S for Svc Cmds, -Dir of rians and Opns, etc., 13 Mar 44, sub: 
Italian Service Units. ASF 383.6, Italian Service Units {1 Feb 44) (S). DRB. TAG. 
8 "H<j, ISU's," op. cit., pp. 5-6. 

"A Class I installation was under the command of a commanding general of a service 
command, A Class IV installation was undev the command of the Army Air Force. See : 
AR 170-10, 24 Dec 42. 

1£t Testimony, Brig Gen B, M, Bryan in Hearings before a Subcommittee of House of 
Representatives, 7Utli Cong., 2d sess., on "Military Appropriations Bill," p. 2S3. 


Table 3. Deployment of Italian Service Units, 30 June 1944 <m>& SO June 1945* 



Number of 



SO June 1944 



1, 041 



On duty: 

Headquarters, Fort Wadsworth, N. Y _ 




Service Command installations. 






2d : 


















8th _ 








Technical Service installations . . 




Transportation Corps 









TO /I 


1 Ci 

feignal Corps 



1 o 




- Provost Marshal General 




Air Force installations 


In training . 




31 July 1945 



1, 116 



On duty: 

Headquarters, Fort Wadsworth, N. Y. - - - 




Service Command installations- 






2d , 
















6th . : 




7th . 










j.e^miiLai ocivilw iii&LaiLaLionei 



Transportation Corps 1 





Ordnance _ ... 










Signal Corps 









Provost Marshal General 


* 175 


Air Force installations „ , 




In training „ _ _ _ 

* Source: WD, ASF Monthly Progress Reports, see. 11, 31 Jul 44 and 31 Jul 45. 

» Members of Enemy Section, Prisoner of War Information Bureau, Fort George G, Moade, Md. 



Units Organized 

Between §5 March and 25 May 1944, Headquarters, Italian Service 
Units,, organized the following units : 

1 headquarters and headquarters detachment, ISU 
15 ordnance medium automotive maintenance companies 

1 ordnance heavy automotive maintenance company 
98 quartermaster service companies 

5 quartermaster laundry companies 

2 quartermaster depot companies 

9 quartermaster salvage and repair companies 
24 headquarters and headquarters detachments, quartermaster 

1 harbor craft company 

2 engineer general service regiments 
8 engineer dump truck companies 

1 special engineer battalion, together with five companies 

6 engineer maintenance companies 

2 engineer depot companies 

4 engineer petroleum distribution companies 

1 provisional mail and property detachment for The Provost 
Marshal General, at Fort George G. Meade, Md. 
The 180 units had a table of organization strength of 1,041 officers 
and 33,828 enlisted men, although they actually consisted of 1,046 
officers and 33,614 enlisted men. The attached American administra- 
tive detachments consisted of 234 officers and 1,221 enlisted men. 11 
Some of the ISU units were organized for shipment to the Hawaiian 
Islands and to clear maneuver areas ; but by early summer 1944 they 
were no longer needed and were immediately reorganized for other 
work. By October 1944, after the reorganization, there were 195 
Italian service units, with an actual strength of 954 officers and 32,898 
enlisted men, working on 66 military installations — all doing work 
vital to the war effort. Approximately 12,000 ISU personnel worked 
at ports of embarkation ; 8,500 in ordnance installations ; 4,300 at quar- 
termaster depots ; and 5,900 at service command installations. 12 

Screening and Security 

Screening of Italian service unit personnel was a continuous process. 
An initial screening was done before an Italian prisoner of war was 
accepted into the program, and the units were continuously screened 
to weed out undesirables. All ISU personnel who expressed Fascist 
or pro-Nazi beliefs, showed studied or deliberate noncooperation, dis- 

11 "Hq, ISD's," op, Cit„ pp. 30-32. 

u IUd ; see also : "Prisoner of War Fact Sheet," WD Bureau of Public Belations, 13 Feb 
45, sub : Press Conference of Major General Archer L. Lerch, The Provost Marshal General. 
Copy In author's file; see also: Press Conference, Maj Gen Archer L. Lerch, TPMG, 13 
Feb 45. PMG Special File, Prisoner of War Labor (1945) . DEB, TAG. 



played subversive, recalcitrant or rebellious attitudes, or committed 
serious infractions of laws and regulations were returned to PW 
camps. Since suitable replacements were scarce, ISU^commanders 
exhausted local punishment and reclassification procedures before re- 
turning them. If, after a reassignment, a prisoner of war was unsatis- 
factory due to physical or technical reasons, the commanding general 
of a service command could direct his return to a PW camp without 
prejudice, 1 * 


Early in March 1944, the chief of staff, Army Service Forces, recom- 
mended a pay scale for ISU's based on a percentage of the base pay 
of American troops for comparable grade or rank of the table of or- 
ganization positions these men would occupy! The rank or grade in 
the Italian army held by these PW's was disregarded. All pay was to 
be in American currency." In view of the differential that would have 
existed between the pay being given ISU's in the Mediterranea The- 
ater (the prisoner of war pay scale) and that recommended by Army 
Service Forces, the War Department on 31 March 1944 approved a 
uniform pay scale for all ISU personnel of $24 per month. This in- 
cluded the 10 cents a day gratuitous allowance for enlisted men but 
was in addition to the $20, $30, and $40 monthly allowance paid to 
officers whether they worked or not. One -third of the total amount 
was authorized to be paid in cash while two-thirds could be paid in 
coupons redeemable at post exchanges or deposited in Prisoners' Trust 
Funds. In 1945, the gratuitous allowance of $3 a month for enlisted 
German, Italian Fascist, and Japanese prisoners of war was discon- 
tinued, but members of ISU's continued to receive it as a reward for 
their voluntary services. 15 


Training programs for Italian service units included the same sub- 
jects, less tactics and weapons training, as were given to American per- 
sonnel on similar jobs. Certain designated units were to be trained 
originally at appropriate technical service centers: Camp Claiborne, 
La., for engineer units; Pine Camp, N. Y., Camp Wallace, Tex., and 
Fort Lewis, Wash., for quartermaster units; and the Transportation 
Corps Unit Training Center, New Orleans, La., for transportation 
units. The chiefs of the services prepared ISU training schedules 
based on their own standard mobilization training programs. The 

13 ASF Cir 236, 23 Jun 4S, pt. II. Copy in AG 383.6 (25 Apr 45) (7), DEB, TAG. 

« Italian enlisted men, company officers, and warrant officers would have been paid 
50 per cent of the equivalent U. S. Army rank, and field officers 45 per cent of the U. S. 
Army base pay. 

15 "Hq, ISU's," op. cit., pp. 11-12 ; nee also : Memo, ACnf S, G-l, to CofS, 7 Apr. 44, 
sub: Pay allowances for Italian Service Units.- ASF 383.6, Italian Service Units 
(1 Feb 44). DRB, TAG. 



length of instruction varied from 8 to 12 weeks depending upon the 
type of unit organized, and basic military subjects were taught along 
with specialized job training. 

Approximately 44 percent of the volunteer Italian prisoners were 
instructed at the training centers under the technical service programs. 
The remainder were given on-the-job training at the posts where they 
were assigned. This also included 12 hours weekly training in basic 
military subjects. On many posts, however, the work demands inter- 
fered with the required military instruction, and in only a few in- 
stances was the required 12 hours given. Instruction for the assigned 
work was accomplished satisfactorily. ISU units technically trained 
at the Ordnance, Engineer, and Transportation Centers were consid- 
ered more valuable and essential than those which had been given on- 
the-job training, since they had been given more specialized instruc- 
tion. But since quartermaster work on the whole did not require as 
much technical skill, ISU's trained on the job at quartermaster instal- 
lations were considered the equal to those trained at the Quartermaster 
Training Center. 

"Work demands forced Headquarters, Italian Service Units, to trans- 
fer many units to their ultimate destination before completion of their 
training program, and by 30 September 1944 the training centers were 
closed. All the 1ST! units had either completed their instruction or 
had been assigned to other posts for on-the-job training. 16 

Many difficulties had to be met and overcome in training ISU per- 
sonnel. Graphic aids had to be devised; manuals translated; and, as 
a whole, the language barrier overcome. Progress was slow. Many 
commanders, to speed up their work program, resorted to makeshift 
and less formal methods — but with good results. Some started English 
courses but shortened them as the Italian prisoners quickly grasped 
a working knowledge of the English language through association with 
American civilians on the job. Many post commanders stressed on- 
the-job instruction in English from the start of the training program. 17 

Later Restrictions 

The Geneva Convention restrictidns on war work had been waived 
by the Badoglio proclamation, and ISTJ's were used on any type work 
that would further the war effort, subject to the following security re- 
strictions : ISU's could not be used in combat; they could not be used 
on docks, wharves, piers, or on vessels at ports of embarkation within 
the United States ; they could not handle explosives or other danger- 
ous or classified materials, nor could they be employed where they 

10 Rpt, 30 May 45, sub: Developments In tho Program for Training and Employment 
of Italian Service Units in the Fiscal Year 1945, ASP Control Div, Management Br, 
ISU's, FY 1945. DRB, TAG. 

""Hq, ISU's," op cit,, pp. 14-29, 




might have access to them ; and they could not be used on any project 
where other prisoners of war were available and could be used. 18 

Results of the Program 

The Italian service unit program remained unchanged during 
World War II and contributed materially to the successful conclusion 
of the war, releasing U. S. service personnel for overseas duties. Dur- 
ing the period ending 31 December 1944, ISU's performed over 
6,000,000 man-days of labor on military installations. The Transpor- 
tation Corps used over 2,000,000 man-days at ports of embarkation 
and at holding and reconsigning points to expedite the dispatch of 
war material overseas. 19 Ordnance Corps used 1,364,374 man-days at 
ordnance depots and arsenals to assist in the shipment of vital mate- 
rial to the ports. The Quartermaster Corps used nearly 800,000 man- 
days of this labor to prepare supplies for shipment, and the Engineer 
Corps nearly 333,000 man-days. Approximately 750,000 man-days of 
ISU labor were performed on military installations to recondition 
and prepare motor vehicles for overseas shipment. Others were used 
to salvage essential material and for general housekeeping and main- 
tenance. 20 

19 Ltr, Hq, ASF, to DCof S for Svc Cmas, etc., 23 Mar 44, sub : Italian Service Units. 
Copy la "Hq, ISU V op. M., tab C. 

"The New York Port of Embarkation alone used 585,352 man-days of ISU labor during 
tbls period. 

a » Press Conference, Maj Gen A. L. Lerch, TPMG, 18 Feb 45. PMG Special File, Prisoner 
of War Labor (1945). DEB, TAG. 

Chapter 9 

Contract Labor: The Development of the War Depart- 
ment-War Manpower Commission Agreement, August 
1943, and Implementing Directives 

Since few prisoners of war were interned in the United States in 
1942 and since manpower shortages in American industry or agricul- 
ture did not become critical until late 1942, during that year there was 
little opportunity to use prisoners of war in contract employment. 
Nevertheless, detailed planning was undertaken, and by mid-1943, 
when the first large-scale contract employment of the prisoners became 
possible, employment policies had been considerably refined and 

In general, the early development of the contract policy was con- 
fined closely to the Office of -The Provost Marshal General and was 
limited in scope. Security was paramount and the central aim was to 
prevent the prisoners from escaping and committing sabotage. The 
Provost Marshal General's staff had little reason to contact industrial, 
agricultural, and labor personnel for expert advice in analyzing areas 
where manpower was needed, or to work out the details of contract pay 
scales and local labor adjustments. By late 1942, however, when re- 
ceipt of the prisoners of war was imminent, the PMG sought the aid 
of the Industrial Personnel Division, SOS ; the War Manpower Com- 
mission ; and the Department of Agriculture in prisoner of war place- 
ment and employment. 

In November 1942, The Provost Marshal General and The Judge 
Advocate General jointly issued a new standard contract form to as- 
sist PW camp commanders in their negotiations with private employ- 
ers of prisoner of war labor. The new form developed more fully the 
issue of pay scales and contract costs, but this was difficult to resolve. 
The April 1942 manual had stipulated that the amount to be paid by 
employers was to be negotiated and that it could not be less than 80 
cents a day per prisoner. But in the new contract as issued the em- 
ployer was also required to pay the cost of rationing the PWs while at 
work and of transporting them to and from the job. 

Fearing that organized labor in the United States would openly 
resist any threat to the established pay rates or would be hostile to 




any labor that might compete indisciminately with free labor, the 
Director of the Civilian Personnel Division, SOS, emphasized that 
prisoners of war should not be hired out on contract where they would 
compete with free labor. He also contended that the new contract 
form should include the clause "the contractor agrees to pay for said 
labor in accorclance with the minimum, rates for similar labor in the 
locality or area." 1 This would have prevented any employer from 
obtaining low-wage PW labor to the competitive disadvantage of free 
civilian labor. However, the Office of The Provost Marshal General, 
apparently making no distinction between the amount the contractor 
was to pay and the amount to be credited to the prisoner of war, con- 
tended that to pay the prevailing civilian wage rate to PW's would 
arouse public opinion and cause unfavorable repercussions, particu- 
larly since American prisoners overseas were not being paid high 
rates for the work they were doing. 2 This issue was sidestepped in the 
November 1942 draft contract form instructions by not defining the 
amount to be paid — -a temporary victory for those opposed to paying 
a prevailing wage rate. 

In December 1942 the Office of The Provost Marshal General ad- 
vised the camp commander of the Camp Wheeler (Ga.) internment 
camp that he was the PMGO's representative and could complete 
local prisoner of war labor contracts. 3 This action indicated that in 
current planning, contract actions were to be decentralized to the 
using level, thus making it easier to employ PW labor. 

The Employment Situation, Spring 1943 

Critical manpower shortages developed in many areas and in- 
dustries in early 1943, and to effectively allocate any incoming PW's 
to the critical areas The Provost Marshal General's Offices sought the 
cooperation of the War Manpower Commission and the Department 
of Agriculture. These agencies submitted lists of suggested work 
projects near established camps and suggested sites for new camps, 
with nearby projects on which PW's could be employed, or sites that 
might assist in filling seasonal, farm labor demands.* Although many 
of the service commands objected to the sites -finally chosen, 5 by 

iMemo, James P. Mitchell, Dir, Civ Pers Div, SOS, to Ch, Adm Sves, SOS, 20 Nov 42, 
sub: Contracts for Internees ami/or Prisoner of War Labor, PMGO 253.5 Gen PW #1 
(4 Mar 42 thru 14 Jul 43} , DEB, TAG. 

» Memo, Col B. M, Bryan, Dir, Aliens Div, PMGO, for Cli, Adm Sves, SOS, ?,0 Nov 42, 
sub: Contract for Civilian Internee and/or Prisoner of War Labor. Ibid. 

3 Ltr and inds, Lt Col E. E. Patterson, Ilq, Camp Wheeler, Ga., to CG, 4th Sve Cmd, 
17 Dec 42, sub : Approval for Class II Labor, Camp Wheeler Internment Camp. PMGO 
253.5 (1943). DHB, TAG. 

*Memo, W. C, Leland, Civ Pers Div, SOS, to Col J. E. O'Gara, Labor Br, SOS, 25 Feb 43, 
sub: Status of Arrangements for Employment of Prisoners of War, ASF File, Prisoners 
of War (1942 to April 1844). DEB, TAG. 

E For a discussion of these objections, see : "History of PMGO, WWII," op, cit., p. 31)3 : 
see also : DF, Mai Gen Thos. Handy to CG, SOS, 3 Feb 43, sub : Location of Internment 
Camps. Case 60 in OPD 383.0 (Prisoners of War) Sec II (Cases 49-80) (S). DEB, TAG. 



March, 37 prisoner of war camps had been completed on or near 
military installations and 21 more were either under construction or 
were authorized. 6 , 

The Issue of Contract Pay in Agricultural Work 

The issue of whether employers would pay the prevailing wage rate 
for PW labor again flared into the open in March 1943. At a meeting 
between Brig. Gen. B. M. Bryan, Office of The Provost Marshal Gen- 
eral, and representatives of the Industrial Personnel Division of the 
Army Service Forces, General Bryan stated that he was skeptical as 
to whether employers would pay prevailing wage rates for PW labor 
since certain "nuisance factors" were involved. These "nuisance 
factors" he explained, would be the, result of using prisoners of war 
instead of free workers and were as follows : 

a. The adjustment of work schedules and working conditions to conform 
with the security requirements for the employment of prisoners of war. 

h. The possible cost of additional supervision to instruct and to direct 
the prisoners in their work, in addition to the guards provided by the Gov- 
ernment for security purposes. 

o. The language problem which necessitates communication with the 
prisoners through interpreters. 

d. The possibility of attempts by the prisoners to sabotage the work 
being done, 

e. The danger to the employer, free employees, and the citizens of the 
community which arise from : 

(1) Possible attempts by the prisoners themselves to escape. 

(2) Action by the guards to prevent the escape of prisoners. 7 

On the other hand, the Industrial Personnel Division recommended 
that PWs be used only when free workers could not be recruited at 
going rates; and that the PWs be paid the prevailing wage rate re- 
ceived by free workers, less that caused by differences in efficiency 
and "nuisance factors." It indicated that the employer would then 
enjoy the advantages of an available labor supply; advance planning 
for the labor at prevailing wage rates; and the elimination of the 
problem of labor turnover. 8 

i The War Department and the Department of Justice had agreed that all enemy aliens 
held by the Army would lie transferred to the Department of Justice. To avoid possible 
confusion, the name of the Army installations was changed from internment <;amps to 
prisoner of war camps and 3,725 enemy aliens were returned to the Department of Justice. 
See : 1944 Regional Conference, Prisoner of War Commanders, "Put Prisoners on Organized 
Well Planned Work," p. 5 ; memo, Col J. M. Roamer, Ch, Security Svc Div, SOS, for Ch, 
Admin Svcs, 10 Mar 43, sub : Interned Enemy Aliens and Prisoners of War. PMGO 383.C. 

* See : Memo, Maj J. B. Bartoccini, Aetg Exec, Tnd Pers Div, for SW, 15 Mar 43, sub : 
Recommendations concerning Payments hy Employers for Services of Prisoners of War. 
ASF Pile, Prisoners of War (1942 to April 1944) , DEB, TAG. 

6 Memo, Jas, P. Mitchell, Dir. Ind Pers Div, for TPMG, 10 Mar 43, sub : Recommenda- 
tions concerning payments by employers for Services of Prisoners of War. Ibid, 



Meanwhile, before the issue was settled, an acute shortage of agri- 
cultural labor forced the Deputy Chief of Staff to terminate PW 
employment on "nonessential work" and to transfer them to agri- 
cultural work. The PMG, in carrying out this order, granted PW 
camp commanders the authority to negotiate and complete arrange- 
ments locally for this employment, subject to the approval of the com- 
manding general of the service command. 9 Portions of the PMG's 
directive immediately ran into opposition from the War Manpower 
Commission, the Department of Agriculture, and the Industrial Per- 
sonnel Division. The new instructions met general approval when 
they specified that PW's were to be used only to meet labor require- 
ments that could not be filled at standard wage rates, and that em- 
ployers should pay an amount equivalent to the labor cost normally 
incurred in using civilian labor. 

The instructions of The Provost Marshal General contained a con- 
troversial provision which stated that the cost of PW labor should be 
estimated at 50 to 75 percent of the normal costs of free labor, because 
of the "nuisance factors." The Industrial Personnel Division con- 
tended that the prevailing piece or hourly rate should be used, and 
that deductions for sabotage or other losses should be made after they 
arose and before final payment to the employer. 10 To this The Pro- 
vost Marshal General replied that "forced labor" performed by pris- 
oners of war could not be the equivalent of American free labor. 
Furthermore, he stated that the farmer employer would probably 
want to estimate his labor costs in advance and would probably reject 
any procedure which would subject him to the expense 'and uncer- 
tainty of subsequent adjustments and claims. The Provost Marshal 
General felt the cost of adjusting contracts, especially small contracts, 
would be prohibitive. 

At this point, in view of the sharp differences of opinion over the 
procedure for determining compensation, Maj. Gen. James L. Collins, 
the chief of Administrative Services of Army Service Forces, sug- 
gested that the percentage of deduction might be revised as informa- 
tion became available on prisoners of war working on agricultural 
projects. He therefore recommended, and the War Department sub- 
sequently published on 19 May 1943, The Provost Marshal General's 
original draft of instructions to the camp commanders which included 
the advance reduction in labor costs to the employer. 

After the directive had been published, Mr. James P. Mitchell, the 
director of the Industrial Personnel Division, resumed his criticism 

9 Ltr, TPMG to CG's, all service commands, 13 Apr 43, sub : Agricultural Employment 
of Prisoners of War; ltr, Dep Admin, WFA, to CG's, all service commands, 15 Jun 43, 
sub: Agricultural Employment for Prisoners of War. G-l 383,6 Labor (14 May 43), 
"In Agriculture and Pood Processing." DRB, TAG, 

10 2d Ind, Col John E. O'Gara, Ch, Labor Br, Ind Pers DIv, to Ch, Admin Stcs, 1 May 43, 
Bub : Agricultural Employment of Prisoners of War. IMd. 



of this principle. He commented that a policy offering the services 
of PW's to private employers at less than the going wage would be 
dangerous for the following reasons : 

a. . There would be tremendous pressure to employ prisoners of war in 
preference to free labor in areas where supplies of free labor are available. 

b. The War Department would be open to the charge of favoritism in 
making available prisoners of war to certain employers who. would gain 
an advantage over their competitors by employing lower labor costs. Under 
these circumstances, it would be charged that prisoners of war were being 
distributed on the basis of political and personal influence rather than on 
the basis of shortages of labor. 

c. Serious labor relation problems would be created and the favorable 
attitude of organized labor toward the War Department would be undermined 
by the charge that prisoners of war were competing with free labor at 
substandard costs to the contractor. 31 

At this juncture, General Collins, who had initially waved aside the 
objections of Mr. Mitchell, now reversed himself on the grounds that 
Mr. Mitchell was labor's representative in the War Department. In 
the event of labor trouble, he stated, labor might claim the War De- 
partment would not accept the recommendations of its representative. 
General Collins now urged that unless the reasons were "overwhelm- 
ing," the War Department should support Mr. Mitchell's position. 

Another big factor in the reversal of position was a protest from 
the War Manpower Commission chairman, Paul V. McNutt. In his 
protest, he attached a memorandum from the Eighth Service Com- 
mand which embodied the policy that had been suggested in The 
Provost Marshal General's April directive. Chairman McNutt 
argued that where piece rates were paid or unskilled labor was used, 
payment for PW labor should be at the full prevailing rate for civil- 
ian workers in the locality. He felt it was desirable to defer any 
adjustment for "inefficiency" until some experience could be obtained 
to provide a reasonable basis for: necessary discounting. 18 

While the policy was being debated, the Industrial Personnel Divi- 
sion was compiling evidence that showed that the contract price of 
prisoner of war labor had, in a great majority of cases, been set very 
low. There was no correlation between the man-days called for in 
the contracts and the wage rate upon which the contract prices had 
been based. 13 But by the time the PMG's directive was rewritten to 

31 Memo, James P. Mitchell, Dir, Ind Pers Div, for CofS, ASF, 24 May 43, sub : Policy- 
Statement on Employment of Prisoners of War. AS* 1 File, Prisoners of War (1942 to 
April 1944). DEB, 1 1 AG. 

"Ltr, Paul V. McNutt, Chm, WMC, to SW, 29 May 43. G-l 383.6 Labor (14 May 43), 
"In Agriculture and Food Processing." DRB, TAG. 

13 A representative sample of 41 cases was taken from the total group of 386 PW 
contracts operative in June and July 1943. About 70 per cent of the farm contracts 
called for a wage of less than 20 cents per hour. In the case of nonfarm worlc, the per- 
centage under 20 cents per hour was about 50 percent. In both types of employment 
the rates under 20 cents per hour were mainly 14 and 15 cents. See : DF, Maj Sufrin 
to James P. Mitchell, Ind Pers Div, ASF, 17 Aug 43, sub : Employment of Prisoners of 
War. ASF Pile, Prisoners of War (1942 to April 1944). DEB, TAG. 



incorporate the position advocated by the Industrial Personnel Divi- 
sion, the farm labor shortage had eased. 14 In contrast, the labor 
supply in many industries in which PW's could be employed was 
dwindling. Therefore, the amended PMG directive was not approved 
because a broader program was contemplated. 

The War Department-War Manpower Commission Agreement 

In May 1943, the chairman of the War Manpower Commission 
suggested to the Secretary of War that prisoners of war be used within 
the food processing, lumber, and railroad industries since recruitment 
in nonagricultural work was lagging. 15 He also suggested a closer rela- 
tionship between the War Department and the War Manpower Com- 
mission whereby the prisoners could be more fully and more economi- 
cally used. {At this time only six established prisoner of war camps 
were located in areas with a continued demand for agricultural labor.) 
One month later General Somervell also suggested the same thing. 18 
As a result of these suggestions and an exchange of correspondence be- 
tween the two agencies, a formal agreement was reached on 14 August 
1943, to become effective 17 September, establishing the final determina- 
tion of channels in which prisoner of war labor was to be directed. 
This agreement existed throughout the war and governed all prisoner 
of war employment in the continental United States, other than that 
performed by the military services. 17 

The Secretary of War had acknowledged the inability of the War 
Department's field personnel to weigh and determine the economic 
and social complications presented by demands for the expansion of 
prisoner of war employment into new areas and industries. He also 
recognized that the War Manpower Commission was the only civilian 
agency fully equipped and organized to carry out this task. 18 Mr. 
Stimson, therefore, proposed a joint operation with the Commission. 
The War Department's proposal anticipated that the War Manpower 
Commission would sign the PW labor contract, collect the money from 

Xi New selective service deferment regulations and the importation of workers from 
Mexico, Jamaica, and the Bahamas to relieve peak seasonal demands had helped the 
manpower situation of the farms. Chester C. Davis, War Foods Administrator, stated 
in May 1943: "A current appraisal of the farm labor situation indicates there is an 
available labor supply sufficient to produce and harvest a X943 crop up to the levels of" 
the announced goals. If the potential is fully used, farm production need not suffer from 
lack of labor in 1943." See : Memo, Lt Gen Brehon Somervell, CG, ASF, for DCofS, 
10 Jun 43, sub : Labor of Prisoners of War. AG 383.6. DRB, TAG. 

"Ltr, Paul V. McNutt, Chin, WMC, to SW, 24 May 43. PMGO 383. G, Labor P/W. 

la See : Memo, Lt Gen Brehon Somervell for CofS, 10 Jim 43, sub : Labor of Prisoners 
of War. G-l 383.6, Gen Policies, Procedures, and Regulations. DRB, TAG. 

"Ltrs, McNutt to Stimson, 7 Jun 43 and 9 Jun 43 ; ILr, Stimson to McNutt, 18 Jun 43. 
Copies in iMd • a copy of War Manpower Commission- War Department agreement is 
filed in War Manpower Commission Central Files, Labor, Mobilization and Utilization 4-41. 
Records of the War .Manpower Commission. National Archives. 

18 Ltr, Stimson to McNutt, 6 Jul 43. PMGO 383.6. DRB, TAG. 



the employer, certify to the labor need, and establish, work priorities. 
The Commission, on the other hand, agreed to the proposal but refused 
to accept the responsibility of entering into the contracts and collect- 
ing from the employer ; thereupon the War Department retained these 

On 12 August, two days before the agreement was concluded, Robert 
P. Patterson, Under Secretary of War, informed Mr. McNutt that a 
proposed joint procedure for hiring out PWs had been completed be- 
tween the agencies, and that he was prepared to put it into effect for 
the War Department. But, he continued, the adoption of this pro- 
posed new procedure was not to prevent the War Department from 
carrying out its existing contracts, nor from making new contracts 
under the present procedure, if necessary, while both agencies were 
making plans to put the agreement into effect. Mr. Patterson, then 
emphasized that the procedure was not to limit the types of work where 
the War Manpower Commission certified that free labor was unobtain- 
able at prevailing wages and working conditions. This limitation, he 
stated, might unduly restrict the use of PW labor and therefore make 
the proposed arrangement unacceptable. 1 i} 

The War Manpower Commission then issued to its field personnel 
the following instructions for hiring out prisoners of war : 

A. Prisoners of war will be employed only when other labor is not avail- 
able and cannot be recruited from other areas within a reasonable length 
of time. 

B. Before the War Manpower Commission certifies to the need for using' 
prisoners of war, all supplies of labor, including secondary sources, within 
the area from which workers normally come to perform work of this type 
must be exhausted. 

C. Prisoners of war shall not be used in any way which will impair the 
wages, working conditions, and employment opportunities of resident labor 
or displace employed workers. 

D. . As evidence of the fact that the use of prisoners of war will not affect 
local conditions of employment adversely, the employer must place a bona 
fide order for the workers needed with the local employment office. It is 
advisable to allow the local office a reasonable time to fill the order before 
preparing a certification of the need for prisoners of war. This order must 
meet the following conditions : 

1. Contain no discriminatory specifications. 

2. Wage rates must not be less than the rate prevailing in the locality 

for similar work. 

3. Working conditions must be equivalent to those prevailing in the 

locality for civilian workers performing similar jobs.™ 

Under the new agreement, the employer was required to place his 
order with the local employment office and specify that his wage rates 

1,1 Ltr, K. P. Patterson, USW, to, Paul V. MeNutt, Clmi, WMC, 12 Aug -13. G-l 38.3.(1 
Labor (1 Apr 43), "General Policies, Procedures, Regulations" (S). PRR, TAG. 

21 WMC, USES Hq Bull 63, 14 Aug 48, sub: Procedure to be followed in Hiring Out 
Prisoner-of-War Labor, Records oi! the War Manpower Commission. National Archives. 



and working conditions were equivalent to those prevailing for civilian 
workers in the same area. The War Manpower Commission (the 
local office of the employment service) was then to determine if the 
normal sources of labor were exhausted before certifying to the need 
for prisoner of war labor. If the certificate was granted, it was re- 
viewed by state and regional directors of "WMC who granted a pri- 
ority rating based on the urgency of the need for all employers in the 
region. The regional director then forwarded the certificate to the 
P W camp or to the service command for action. 

When a request was made for PW labor for agriculture, the state 
extension director, Department of Agriculture, prepared and trans- 
mitted the certificate of need to the state War Manpower Commission 
director. The same procedure was then followed in the assignment 
of priority and in the handling of the certificate by the regional 
director of the War Manpower Commission. 

The Commission could also recommend sites for labor camps that 
would assist in providing prisoners of war for. necessary work. 

The War Department was charged with determining whether the 
projects conformed to its security regulations and to the Geneva Con- 
vention. If it was feasible to make the prisoners available under the 
terms of the War Manpower Commission certification, the War De- 
partment made the contract with the employer and collected the 
amount specified in the contract. It also issued to the employer 
detailed instructions on how to avoid prisoner of war labor problems. 21 

The August Directives 

While the War Department- War Manpower Commission agreement 
was being negotiated, The Provost Marshal General and the com- 
manding general of the Army Service Forces were becoming legiti- 
mately impatient over the delay. Many prisoners of war were arriving 
in the United States, and military and civilian users of PW labor 
needed definite employment instructions. To provide these, Army 
Service Forces issued a new directive on 14 August 1943 which stressed 
maximum employment and embodied specific procedures to be fol- 
lowed. 22 Three prisoner of war work priorities were established: 
Priority I was essential work for the maintenance and operation of 
military installations as distinguished from that of improvement and 
beautification. Priority II was contract labor (certified as necessary 
labor by the War Manpower Commission or the War Foods Adminis- 
tration) for private employers. Priority III was useful but nonessen- 
tial work on or connected with military installations. 

21 Ltr, AG to CG's, all service commands, 24 Aug 43, sub : Employment of Prisoners of 
War oft*' Reservations, G-l 383.6 Labor (1 Apr 43), "General Policies, Procedures, Regu- 
lations" (S). DRB, TAG. 

2a Ltr, AG to CG's, all service commands, 14 Aug 43, sub : Labor of Prisoners of War, 
PMGO 253.5. Gen P/W#5 (1 May-31 May 44). DRB, TAG. 



The directive also listed specific requirements for PW employment 
on military installations: (1) PWs were to do work which would 
replace service troops, or work which if undertaken would normally 
have been performed by the service troops. (2) PWs could also fill 
vacant jobs, normally performed by civilians, provided an authorized 
recruiting agency certified to a civilian labor shortage. (3) If free 
labor were available, the PWs could still fill vacant civilian-type jobs 
provided other necessary work was available for the civilians in the 
vicinity. This would then contribute to the conservation and use of 
manpower in the area. (4) PWs could displace civilian workers on 
military posts provided other essential employment was available in 
the area and if the displacement would contribute to the overall effec- 
tive use of manpower. But if a civilian were displaced, the service 
commander was required to explain why and to inform the former 
employee that recruiting agencies were ready, able, and willing to 
secure him other employment in the area. 

With reference to contract work, service commands were directed 
to clear with the Department of Agriculture (in the cases of agricul- 
tural work and food processing) or with the War Manpower Com- 
mission before entering into any contract with private employers. 

On the same day the directive was published, the War Department- 
War Manpower Commission agreement was announced, to be effective 
17 September. On 24 August the War Department directive was 
revised and reissued to contain the joint statement of policy. The 
basic feature was that requests for PW labor would be channeled to 
military authorities through the War Manpower Commission, while 
contracts for this labor would be executed and administered by the 
War Department. 23 This did not affect post, camp, and station 
employment as defined by the 14 August directive. 

The revised directive did go into greater detail on the compensation 
to be paid by employers. In particular, it provided that certain 
monetary adjustments would be made in the contract if the employer 
had agreed -to supply transportation and it later turned out that 
the Government had to furnish it. Likewise, monetary adjustments 
were provided in case the employer might later supply other con- 
siderations than those specified in the contract. These adjustments 
might appear to be only common sense and fair play, yet they were 
detailed specifically. Every precaution was taken to see that com- 
pensation equaled the prevailing wage of free labor in the locality. 
The War Department directive specifically stated that no deviations 
were to be made from the contract that would impair those provisions 
guaranteeing a compensation equal to that received by free labor in 

^Ltr, AG to CG's, all service commands, 24 Aug 43, sub: Employment of Prisoners of 
War off Reservations. G-l 383.6 Labor (1 Apr 43), "General Policies, Procedures, 
Regulations." (S). DEB, TAG. 



the vicinity. In case of any doubt or question regarding compensa- 
tion, the PW camp commander was required to consult with the War 
Manpower Commission before making any changes. If a material 
deviation appeared necessary, the camp commander had to obtain 
advance approval from the commanding general of the service com- 
mand; and where the service command felt a new policy decision was 
involved, it had to be submitted to The Provost Marshal General. 

Following the War Department- War Manpower Commission agree- ' 
ment in August 1943, prisoner of war employment showed a marked 
increase. 24 At the time of the agreement, approximately 181,000 
prisoners of war were in the United States, and small groups were 
working under contract in 25 states. Other small groups were em- 
ployed on military installations. This increase was due, not only to 
the greater number available and to the Italian Service Unit program, 
but also to increased efforts by the War Department to stimulate the 
PW employment program. More PW information was made avail- 
able to employers; the number of jobs on which PW's could be em- 
ployed was increased; a large number of side camps were made avail- 
able in areas where there were no PW camps ; and better cooperation 
existed between the War Department and the United States Employ- 
ment Service. Despite these steps, the program still lagged. As of 
February 1944, only 59.7 percent . of the prisoners of war were 
employed. 25 

The employment instructions issued by the War Department in 
August 1943, which delegated the responsibility for full employment 
to the service commands, contained a paragraph that weakened its 
effect and confused those in the field. It stated that if the employ- 
ment of prisoners of war conflicted with their safeguarding, "The 
safeguarding . . . is considered paramount." 20 This resulted, in a 
tendency to overguard any working PW's; consequently, field com- 
manders refused work opportunities to those remaining, fearing dis- 
ciplinary punishment if the prisoners escaped from their custody. 
Other officers were outspoken in their opposition to PW employment. 
One commanding general of .an infantry replacement training center 
said: ". . . we must treat the German prisoners of war interned at 
military stations as a brutal, treacherous group, or we should keep 
them out of sight of our trainees." ' ll 

21 During Sep 43, PW's performed 800,432 man-days of work off military reservations. 
One month later, this total soared to 1,223.208 man-days. See : War Manpower Com- 
mission Press Release, 4 Feb 44. Copy in author's file. 

26 Minutes., ASP Conference of Commanding Generals of Service Commands, 17-19 
Feb 44, Dallas, Tex., p, 9G. ASF Control Div File. DRB, TAG. 

">A.Q Ltr Order, 14 Aug 43, sub: Labor of Prisoners of War. AG 383 6 (12 Aug 431 

^Ltr, Col Carl L, Ristine, IGD, to Actg IG, 8 Mar 44, sub: Investigation of tlie situa- 
tion obtaining on the housing, controlling and utilizing in productive work of prisoners 
of war in continental United States. G-l 383,6 Labor (.1 Apr 43), "General Policies 
Procedures, Regulations." DRU, TAG. ' ' 



To clarify the existing policy and to stimulate further employment, 
the Chief of Staff delegated the responsibility for securing and for the 
location of the PW camps to the commanding general, Army Service 
Forces. He in turn delegated the discharge of these functions to the 
respective service commands— a step which definitely stimulated the 
program. 28 The service commands immediately instituted, surveys to 
determine where housing was available and-where the PWs could best 
be employed. [See charts I P and 5. ] Camp commanders were ordered 
to convert vacant troop housing for prisoner occupancy. Where troop 
housing was not available, camp commanders secured buildings from 
former CCC posts and had them erected to provide the necessary 'facili- 
ties. PW labor was used to dismantle and reerect the buildings. As 
the demand for workers in agriculture and industry increased, 
branch camps were also established in the critical areas. EB For se- 
curity reasons, and at the request of the Army Air Force and the Navy, 
a restricted zone was established around sensitive Air Force and naval 
installations. If a PW camp was established or if prisoners of war 
were used within a 10-mile radius of these installations, special security 
precautions had to be provided. 30 

Chart k- Distrihution of Bam anil Brunnh Prisoner of War Camps an of 1 August 


^Ltr, ASF to CG's, all service commands, and MDW, 2 Oct 43, sub r Prisoner of War 
Camps. PMGO 383.6 Ldbor P/W. ORB, TAG. 

20 By 31 Aug 43, there were 72 PW camps in the United States; by 1 Jun 44, approxi- 
mately 300 camps ; and by Apr 45, 150 base camps and 340 branch camps — all located in 
various sections of the United States. The camps varied in capacity (from 250 to 3,000 
men) and served military, agricultural, and industrial needs. See; Statement, Brig Gen 
B. M. Bryan, Jr., Asst PMG, before HMAC, 26 Apr 45, on Enemy Prisoners of War in the 
United States, In "Prisoner of War Operations," op. dt.j vol. II of tabs. 

30 PW Cir 16, 14 Mar 44. Copy in "Prisoner of War Operations," op <At., vol. I of tabs. 



Chart 5. Distribution of Base and Branch Prisoner of War Gamps as of 1 June 



I * 

r^~- _ J M!HH[B0T* j 


I* L 

f • — 

J Iowa v\ 

rftvi 1°"" 
1 , j&SS*' 

^1 ,»HSVH«»* (t Jf 

X* * * * I i* . if 

\ * * tfvii- • V-s--**-*-VA 

Policy Clarification 

In September 1943, the War Department published the first of a 
series of PW circulars (later incorporated in Training Manual 19- 
500) designed to further increase PW employment and to clarify its 
basic January 1943 policy. Specifically, a determination had to be 
made on— what constituted work directly connected with war opera- 
tions j what constituted dangerous or unhealthful work ; and what was 
degrading work. 

In regard to the first, the War Department defined the work on 
which PWs could not be employed. They couH not handle or work 
on explosives, ammunition, aircraft, tanks, or other lethal weapons of 
war, nor could they handle any supplies destined for "combatant 
units." However, it defined "combatant units" as " . . . units actu- 
ally engaged or about to engage, in operations against the enemy." 31 

Dangerous or unhealthful work was construed from three aspects : 
(1) the inherent nature of the job; (2) the particular conditions un- 
der which the job was to be performed; and (3) the individual capac- 
ity of the prisoner of war. Proper safety devices, the training and 
experience of the PW, and the particular task involved, rather than 
the overall complexion of the industry, were also considered. The 

81 T JAG had defined "munitions" as including communications, provisions, and any 
military stores, but his definition was not accepted. See : Memo, Maj Gen H G White 
ACofS, for CofS, 6 Jan 44, sub : Prisoner of War Labor. G-l 383.6 Labor (IS May 43)' 
Types of Work on Which POW May Be Employed. Item 2. DEB, TAG ■ see also • PW 
Cir 5, 18 Jan 44, p. 2 ; TM 16-500, ch. 5, 31 May 45. 



War Department directed appropriate American officers at the using 
level to determine the suitability of the task for the PW's, taking into 
consideration the three factors. It also directed the responsible com- 
mander (usually the PW camp commander or his delegate) to make 
periodic inspections to insure satisfactory working conditions. The 
PW was to be allowed to complain for his own protection to the Pro- 
tecting Power, when in theaters of operations, or by direct appeal to 
the Office of The Provost Marshal General, when in the United 
States. 32 

"Degrading" work, as defined by the early labor policy, was the basis 
whereby prisoners of war could not work as orderlies for other than 
their own officers. The Geneva Convention did not specifically pro- 
hibit degrading work, but implied it. The War Department explained 
it as being a "well defined rule of the customary law of nations . . .," 
and directed U. S. troops to avoid using PW's on any work that could 
be considered degrading. PW's could not work within civilian pris- 
ons nor in close proximity to convicts ; as bartenders in officers' clubs ; 
or as entertainers for United States military or civilian personnel. 
But they could be used on any work connected with the administra- 
tion, management, and maintenance of PW camps. 33 

The Prisoner of War Employment Reviewing Board 

The War Department had directed early in 1943 that any case of 
substantial doubt or questionable employment be immediately re- 
ferred to The Provost Marshal General for specific instructions. 3 * 
After consultation with G-l and The Judge Advocate General it was 
decided that prisoners would not be permitted to volunteer for labor 
specifically prohibited by War Department policy or by the Geneva 
Convention. The Judge Advocate General had ruled that Article 32 
of the convention which prohibited the employment of prisoners of 
war on unhealthful or dangerous work had been made to protect the 
prisoner. Therefore, it was mandatory upon the captor state. The 
consent of an individual prisoner did not relieve the captor state of 
its obligation to protect him ; the only proper method to relieve the 
state of its responsibility would be by international agreement. 35 

Eventually, in December 1943, at the suggestion of The Judge 
Advocate General and G~l, the War Department established the 

PW Cir 5, 18 Jan 44, sec. 4, pp. 2-3; TM 19-500, pp. 5.4-5,5 ; see also : G-l 383.6 
Labor (18 May 43), Types of Work on Which POW May Be Employed. DEB, TAG. 

33 TM 1D-500, 31 May 45, par. 12, p. 5.5 and par. IS (6), p. 5.8; PW Cir 38, 15 Jul 44, 
sec. Ill ; PW Cir 5, 18 Jan 44, par. 6. 

"'Memo, Lt Gen J. T. McNarney for ACofS, OPD, 3 Apr 43, sub: Prisoners of War. 
OPD 383.6 Prisoners of War (S), Sec. 2. Case 77. DEB, TAG; see also: PW Cir 1, 
24 Sep 43, p. 35. 

36 Memo, Maj Gen M. C. Cramer, TJAG, for ACofS, G-l, 17 Aug 43, sub: Voluntary 
Employment of POW in Hazardous Occupations. Hid. 



Prisoner of War Employment Reviewing Board with authority to 
make final decisions in all doubtful employment cases. It ruled, on 
the conformity of the cases to the provisions of the Geneva Conven- 
tion and "the practice of nations." The board was established: (1) 
to relieve the burden on camp commanders or the service commands 
involved; (2) to establish a uniformity of interpretation; and (3) to 
prevent possible enemy reprisals against interned American person- 
nel. 30 The board, as established, was composed of a special assistant 
to the Secretary of War and representatives of The Judge Advocate 
General and The Provost Marshal General. 

The board made the following formal decisions for prisoners of 
war as distinguished from ISTJ personnel : 
a. Permissible WorJc. 

(1) Maintenance and repair work on any vehicle designed to 
carry cargo or personnel as distinguished from those de- 
signed to carry combat weapons. 

(2) Scraping operations primarily on any type of military vehicle 
or equipment. Minor incidental salvage did not prohibit 
this type of employment. 

(3) Salvage work to recover parts for reissue on those vehicles 
on which the P Ws mi ght work. 

(4) Work on gas masks. 

■ (5) Work connected with the shipment of hydrogen -til led 
Prohibited Work; 

(1) Work on the preparation of motor vehicles for oversea 

(2) Work on the organic transportation equipment of a unit 
alerted for oversea shipment. 

{ 3 ) Steam cleaning tanks and their motors. 

(4) Work connected with rifle ranges or bayonet courses, or work 
on any aids used to train personnel in combat weapons. 

(5) Work connected with guns of any kind. 37 

The board also permitted PW's to work in the manufacture of dry 
cell batteries, cloth from water-repellent material, and automobile 
tires, all of which were interchangeable between military and civilian 
vehicles. 38 

•'»Meino, Maj Gen M. C. Cramer, T.TAG, to Lt Col M. C. Bernays, G-l, 9 Dec 43, sub: 
Prisoner of War Labor ; memo, Maj Gen M, C. Cramer to A.Cof S, G-l, 7 Dec .43,' sub : 
Prisoner of War Labor. Ibid. 

w PW Cir 13, 2 Mar 44, sec. II ; TM 19-500, 31 May 45, pp. 5.7-5.8. 

38 Minutes of 3d Meeting of tile Prisoner of War Employment BeViewiuff Board, 12 Oct 
44; memo for record, M. C. B. (Bernays), 4 Aug 44. G-l S83.6 Labor (IS May 48), Types 
of Work on Which POW May He Employed. DRB, TAG. 

Chapter 10 
Application of the Contract Policy 

Security vs. Full Employment 

Despite the steps taken to clarify policy and to stimulate prisoner 
employment, the program lagged. The universal tendency on the part 
of those responsible was to overgnard the captured enemy personnel. 
By September 1943, the ratio between American troops used as guard 
personnel and working prisoners of war was as high as one to one and 
one-half, all of which resulted in reduced employment due to the ex- 
haustion of available guard personnel. 1 

In August 1943, Army Service Forces had directed the service com- 
mands to decentralize control and employment procedures to the level 
of the post commanders who were familiar with immediate labor re- 
quirements. The Eighth Service Command, however, retained cen- 
tralized control of the PW camps at Class II 2 and Class IV installa- 
tions except for such functions as medical service, courts-martial juris- 
diction, and other administrative details. Since it was unable to de- 
termine the work to be done, it reported 48 percent of its prisoners of 
war unemployed for the reason of "no work available" as compared to 
the average of 33 percent reported by the other service commands. 3 

In late 1943, The Inspector General . surveyed the Sixth, Seventh, 
and Ninth Service Commands to determine the effectiveness of the PW 
labor program. In summation, he said : . . prisoners of war are not 
being used to do enough of the ordinary work of the station comple- 
ments. Better utilization of prisoners of war is indicated. ..." 4 

The public, particularly potential employers, resented the idleness 
of these prisoners, especially in the light of the manpower shortage. 
On 15 January 1944, the Under Secretary of War, in a memorandum 
to the Chief of Staff, stated that he had received numerous letters 

1 Memo, Maj Gen W. D. Styer for Dir of Admin, ASF (Maj Gen J. h. Collins), 23 Sep 43, 
sub : Utilization of Prisoners of War. CofS, ASP, Prisoners of War. DRB, TAG. 

2 A Class II installation was one under the command of a commanding general of a service 
command with certain activities exempted from such command, such us AGF camps, 
schools, training centers, etc. See : AE 170-10, 24 Dec 42, 

« Memo, Maj Gnu James L. Collins for DCofS for Svc Cmds, 7 Aug 43, sub : Decentrali- 
zation and Prisoner of War Labor, PMGO 383.0 Labor, P/W. DRB, TAG. 

* Memo, Brig Gen B. M. Bryan for Dir, Ind Pers Div, ASP, 12 Jan 44, sub : Draft of 
Directive : "Employment of Civilians on Reservations as effected by availability Of POW 
(S)." PMGO 253. 5 Gen P/W (Aug 44). DEB, TAG. 

338293—55 9 




and inquiries relating to the alleged idleness of and failure to make 
effective use of German and Italian prisoners of war as a source of 
labor supply. He suggested that The, Inspector General make a thor- 
ough survey of the entire prisoner of war situation. 5 

The Deputy Chief of Staff directed that such a survey be made, 
despite the fact that G-l reported progress on a number of measures 
to increase utilization. Employment opportunities had been resur- 
veyed, resulting in the shifting of prisoners to camps with higher 
employment opportunities. Furthermore, the shift in emphasis from 
employment exclusively in agriculture to employment as year-round 
industrial labor was also increasing the utilization of the prisoners. 

The Inspector General's Report 6 

On the basis of this survey, The Inspector General reported that 
only about 40 to 60 percent of the prisoners of war who were avail- 
able and required to work were actually being employed on any type 
of work. Only a small percentage of these were being employed on 
essential or useful work. Of those working approximately one-third 
were employed on maintenance of posts, camps, and stations; one- 
third on self-maintenance; one-sixth on agriculture; and the remain- 
ing one-sixth on other miscellaneous work projects. 

The main reason for the low percentage of employment on essen- 
tial projects was the fact that security considerations had dictated 
the construction of large camps in relatively isolated areas, making 
it difficult to obtain nearby employment except for seasonal agricul- 
tural projects. The report also noted that there had been some initial 
slowness on the part of both War Department and War Manpower 
Commission officials in appraising the possibilities for prisoner of 
w r ar employment and in estimating local manpower needs. 

There had been certain notable exceptions in the cases of smaller 
camps where an above average percentage of prisoners had been placed 
in long-term and profitable work in civilian industry. A leading ex- 
ample was the situation at Pine Camp, N. Y., where 417 of a total 
of 992 prisoners of war had been so utilized in the period from October 
1943 to March 1944. These 417 prisoners had earned, through Janu- 
ary 1944, $120,708.67 over and above the costs to the Government of 
providing side camp facilities. 

One of the investigating officers on a visit to Chicago found that 
War Manpower Commission officials in that region, comprising Illi- 
nois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, complained of what they termed the 

5 Memo, TJSW to CofS, 15 Jan 44. G-l 383.6 Labor (1 Apr 43) "General Policies, 
Procedures and Regulations," DRB, TAG, 

8 Rpt, Col Carl L, Restine, et al, to Actg IG, 9 Mar 44, sub : Investigation of the situation 
obtaining on the housing, controlling and utilizing in productive work of prisoners of war 
in continental United States, G-l 383,6 Labor (1 Apr 43), "General Policies, Procedures, 
Regulations." (S). DRB, TAG. 



"arbitrary and irreconcilable attitude" displayed by the commanding 
general of the Sixth Service Command toward the use of prisoners on 
civilian work projects in the Chicago area. Numerous instances were 
cited where the service commander had disapproved certifications of 
the regional director for the employment of prisoners of war, despite 
the fact that such certifications conformed with existing War Depart- 
ment policies and instructions. It appeared that in disapproving re- 
quests for the PW employment, the commanding general of the Sixth 
Service Command was influenced by the requests of the mayor and 
other prominent Chicago citizens that PW's not be employed in the 
area because of unions and other opposition. In the opinion of the 
investigating office, the service commander under the circumstances 
did not act arbitrarily, but had sought to maintain harmonious rela- 
tions between the Army and the civilian community. A later visit 
verified the fact that there was full cooperation between the service 
commander and the regional director. The latter stated that at the 
later date he felt that it would indeed be undesirable under the cir- 
cumstances to employ prisoners of war in the Chicago area, unless 
Chicago became an area of critical labor shortage. 7 

The Inspector General's report concluded that prisoner of war 
camps with few exceptions were too large, too elaborately constructed, 
and poorly located with regard to fuller utilization of prisoners as 
labor; that control of prisoners of war had been characterized by 
extravagant use of guard personnel at the expense of labor opportuni- 
ties; that full exploitation of the possibilities of using prisoners in 
both military and civilian labor had not been made, nor had regional 
and local officials of the War Manpower Commission explored fully 
the civilian labor possibilities for the employment of prisoners; that 
generally satisfactory cooperation existed between officials of the 
Army, War , Manpower Commission, local labor recruiting agencies, 
and the employers. 8 

The Dallas Conference 

In February 1944 the commanding generals of the service com- 
mands met at Dallas, Tex., to discuss the seriousness of the manpower 
situation in the Zone of the Interior and other problems relating to 
prisoners of war, At the conference, Brig. Gen. B. M. Bryan, the 
Assistant Provost Marshal General, stressed the necessity of maximum 
PW utilization by stating: "By effectively using the labor of these 
prisoners of war, additional soldiers can be made available to par- 
ticipate in combat, and the acute labor shortage for civilian work can 
be alleviated." B 

7 Ibid,, pp. 10-11. 

8 Ibid., p. 18. 

9 Minutes, Conference of ^Commanding Generals of Service Commands, 17-19 Feb 44, 
Dallas, Tex., p, 96. ASF Control Div File. DRB, TAG. 



General Somervell reemphasized the need for maximum effort, 
stating* : "My office lias been emphasizing the necessity for maximum 
utilization of prisoners of war in essential work . . . find the essential 
jobs and put the prisoners of war to work on them. . . . Essential 
work is work that would have to be done whether or not there were 
any prisoners of war; in other words work every prisoner of war you 
have." 10 To stimulate employment he urged the service commands 
to move the PWs from the isolated large camps to smaller inclosures 
on military installations and to 'establish branch work camps in criti- 
cal areas so the PWs could supplement civilian labor. 

The Inspector General also stressed the urgency of the matter by 
stating that the confinement of large groups of 3,000 or more unem- 
ployed, inactive PWs together was loaded with "dynamite." Smaller 
PW camps and a larger number of PWs working outside the in- 
closures meant an increased security hazard due to a lack of guard 
personnel, and General Somervell anticipated the possible protests 
of the service commands. But he still ordered, them to assign as few 
guards as possible. 11 At the same time, he emphasized that assistance 
could be obtained from the ground forces if service personnel had 
already been used to the utmost and if the work to be done by the 
PWs would free more men for military training. General Somervell 
then ordered all concerned to take a "calculated risk," i. e., to balance 
the risk of prisoner escape against the value of the work to be done. 
Thus, with this order, security was no longer the paramount factor : 
the new policy was to balance security with productivity. The last 
major obstacle to full PW employment had been removed. 

Results of the Conference 

The service command conference resulted in a flurry of activity. 
PWs were interned in areas having essential employment possibilities 
and in areas having year-round employment opportunities. Increased 
use was made of existing housing at Army installations in or near 
essential labor areas. Advance detachments of PWs, living under 
field conditions, prepared the sites; built the necessary roads and 
fences ; and performed the many other common and semiskilled labor 
details incident to the establishment of branch PW work camps. 
When these camps were no longer needed, the PWs dismantled them. 
The majority of the larger PW camps, particularly those which were 

™ Ibid., p. 335. 

11 Gen Somervell suggested a guard ratio of 1 guard for every 10 prisoners. By late '44, 
the recommended ratio was 1. to every 8 PWs in noncooperative camps ; 1 to 10 in coopera- 
tive working camps ; and 1 to 15 in cooperative nonworking camps. Further, the employ- 
ment of cooperative. PWs without guards on military Installations was advocated and 
authorised in situations where they worked under American supervisors or in the presence 
of American troops. See : MinuteSj Sixth Conference of Service Commanders, ASF, Edge- 
water Park, Miss., 1-3 Feb 45. ASF Control Div File. DRU, TAG. See also : "History of 
the PMGO, WWII," op. oil., p. 418. 



not located on existing Army installations, were abandoned or re- 
duced in size. In addition to the above, each service command 
attempted to explore possible PW needs on civilian projects by making 
labor surveys. 12 

Since an intensive displacement of civilian labor by prisoners of 
war failed to materialize, Army Service Forces removed all restric- 
tions on the replacement of civilian employees, except veterans, at 
Army installations. A certification by an authorized recruiting 
agency that civilian labor was not available was no longer required. 
However, the new policy change did prohibit the replacement of 
civilians in Group IV (surplus labor) areas. 13 

Army Service Forces investigated all cases that showed a lack of 
cooperation between a local PW camp and the local agency of the 
War Manpower Commission. Teams consisting of representatives 
from the War Manpower Commission, The Provost Marshal General's 
Office, and the service command conferred locally with the regional 
director of the War Manpower Commission to iron out the difficulties, 
lioth the War Department and the War Manpower Commission 
repeatedly stressed that a decentralized procedure was a primary goal 
and that the ideal situation was one in which the area director and 
the PW camp commander handled the problem locally. 

Early in May 1944, the War Manpower Commission revised its 
instructions in an effort to increase the use of prisoners of war. The 
new instructions also reemphasized the necessity for decentralization 
of responsibilities. A War Manpower Commission field representa- 
tive was required to maintain liaison with each PW camp commander ; 
to examine the need for and the availability of the PWs; to speed 
up the certification process; to help establish. PW branch camps; to 
suggest work methods that would reduce the number of guards; to 
arrange for PW job training; and to recommend necessary shifts of 
the PWs to critical labor areas. 14 

Concurrently, Army Service Forces directed each PW base or 
branch camp commander to submit his PW labor report direct to The 
Provost Marshal General. In. this way, the service commands would 
be relieved of the responsibility and labor of preparing consolidated 
labor reports, and an effective check could be made on all PW labor 
activities, both on military installations and in contract employment. 15 

,3 Rpt, Col Carl L. Restine, et al, to A.ctg IG, 9 Mar 44, sub : Investigation of the situa- 
tion obtaining on housing, controlling find utilizing in productive work on prisoners of war 
in continental United States. G-l 383. G Labor (1 Apr 43), "General Policies, Procedures, 
Regulations" (S). DRB, TAG. 

13 PW Cir 24, 24 Apr 44, sub : Employment ol; Prisoners of War on Paid Work at Militat'y 
Installations. Copy in "Prisoner of War Operations," op. cit., vol, I of Tabs. 

'*WMC Field Instruction 43, Bureau of Placement 195, 22 May 44, sub: "Utilization of 
Prisoner, of War Labor. Records of the War Manpower Commission. National Archives. 

15 PW Cir 32, 1 Jun 44, sub: Prisoner of War Camp Labor Report. Copy in "Prisoner 
of War Operations," op. cit., vol. I of tabs. 



The Works Project Branch 

Midway in 1944, Army Service Forces established a Works Project 
Branch in The Provost Marshal General's Office [see chart 6] to effect 
full and efficient PW employment. A similar section was established 
in the Security and Intelligence Division of each service command 
headquarters, and in each post, camp, and station, with a full-time 
officer of appropriate grade at the head. He maintained liaison with 
the service command's labor, engineer, and quartermaster officers and 
others concerned with PW employment and labor, and worked closely 
with representatives of the Works Project Branch of The Provost 
Marshal General's Office. 16 

Expansion of the Contract Policy 

The incentive Pay and Task Systems 

In certain types of contract work, PW labor was measurably less 
efficient than free labor, and in these circumstances serious hardships 
resulted to the employers when payment was on a man-hour or man- 
day basis. To alleviate the situation, the War Department and the 
War Manpower Commission allowed adjustments to be made in such 
cases. 37 To permanently overcome this deficiency and to achieve maxi- 
mum effort from the PW labor, a system of incentive pay was insti- 
tuted in the spring of 1944. 

On 26 April 1944, the Secretary of War approved an incentive pay 
plan for piecework which compensated the PW's according to the 
number of units completed, up to a maximum of $1.20 per day. The 
objectives of this plan were to reward hard workers; to penalize 
laggards; and to encourage a greater degree of teamwork among PW 
laborers. 18 When payment was to be made at piecework rates, the 
War Manpower Commission, in certifying the need for PW em- 
ployment, stated the number of units which the average free worker . 
could complete in a normal day. To determine the amount to be 
paid the PW for each unit, 80 cents (the amount paid for a normal 
day's work) was divided by the number of units an average free 
worker could complete daily. For example, if 10 units constituted 
the norm, the PW was compensated 8 cents per unit completed. His 
daily pay was then '96 cents if he completed 12 units, but only 64 

13 Ltr, Lt Geu Brclion Somervell to Ch, Transportation, 22 Dec 44. PMGO 253.5, Gen 
P/W #9 (17 Nov 44 thru 3 Jan 45). DRE, TAG. A copy of this letter was sent to all 
service commands and to all technical service chiefs. 

WMerao, Maj Gen Jas. L. Collins, Dir of Admin, ASF, to ACofS, G-l, 16 Jun 43, sub: 
Agricultural Employment for Prisoners of War. G-l 383.(3 Labor (14 May 43), "In 
Agriculture and Food Processing." DBB, TAG. 

18 DF, Col H. E. Kessinger, Exec, G-l, to CofS, 24 Aug 44, sub : Incentive. Pay for 
Prisoners of War, G-l 383.6 Labor (8 Jun 43) , "Pay." DEB, TAG. 



Chart 6. Organizational Chart of Prisoner of War Division, Office of The 
Provost Marshal General, June 1944. 














cents if he completed 8 units. The normal production rate of free 
labor was subject to review and change at the request of the PW 
camp commander. 19 . To encourage more efficient teamwork, the work 
units completed by a PW group were totaled, and each group member 
was paid an equal share of the total. Whenever possible, PW's com- 
pensated on the piecework basis were assigned in as small groups as 
practicable (usually not more than 25 prisoners) . 

The task system was another measure adopted to achieve greater 
work production from among the prisoners of war. Under this sys- 
tem, each PW or group of PW's was assigned a definite amount of 
work which might reasonably be completed within a specified period. 
The prisoners were informed of the amount of work to be completed 
each day and of the action that would be taken for' fast or slow work : 
disciplinary action was taken for habitual failure to complete the 
assigned work; and as a reward for high-speed completion of the 
task, the PW's could be returned to their camp before the end of the 
working day. 2<) Under the task system, the War Manpower Com- 
mission determined the amount of work the average, inexperienced 
free laborer could perform in a day, and set the amount of work so 
the PW's could earn 80 cents for a normal day's work. 

M This was done by the contracting officer at the PW camp find the local representative 
of the War Manpower Commission. See : PW Cir 29, 13 May 44, sub : Compensation for 
Paid Work, Copy in "Prisoner of War Operations," op. eit., vof. I of Tabs. 

S, PW Cir 30, 21 Jul 44, sub : Productivity of Prisoner of War Labor, Copy in "Prisoner 
of War Operations," op. cit.j vol, I of Tabs, 


The task system, along with the incentive pay system, effectively 
combined the age-old economic and supervisory inducements of re- 
ward and punishment. At first, however, the PW's showed consider- 
, able resistance, particularly towards the task system. PW camp com- 
manders, by placing the recalcitrant PW's who refused the work 
orders on a reduced diet (if an examination found the PW's to be 
physically able to sustain themselves on a reduced diet), soon brought 
about the desired adjustment, and the work was performed satisfac- 
torily. 21 

Decentralization of Control and Contract Simplification 

Early in the PW contract labor program, much time was lost be- 
cause the Prisoner of War Division in The Provost Marshal General's 
Office supervised all contract procedures and collection practices. But 
on 9 September 1944 the direct responsibility to negotiate and prepare 
PW labor contracts and to promptly collect accounts was transferred 
to the commanding generals of the service commands. The Office of 
The Provost Marshal General continued to exercise staff supervision 
through periodic visits to the service commands and to the PW 
installations. 22 

In early 1945, the PW labor contract was again revised and simpli- 
fied, the most notable changes being provisions for security for pay- 
ment and a penalty for not using the PW labor. Under the new 
contract, the employer was required to furnish a cash deposit, a bank 
guarantee, or a surety bond as security for payment. The amount of 
the security was fixed at 50 percent of the gross wage cost to the con- 
tractor. If the PW's were housed in a branch camp where- the em- 
ployer paid the costs of the camp, the amount of the security was 
partially offset by the amount of the employer's expenditures. 33 

To prevent the establishment of pools of idle PW labor and to re- 
quire the contractor to estimate his labor needs more carefully, the 
War Department inserted a penalty clause for nonuse of the prisoners. 
If an employer did not use the PW's the number of man-days indicated 
in the contract, he had to pay $1.50 a day for each prisoner not used, 
unless the nonuse was caused by unusually severe weather, acts of God, 
or other unforeseeable things clearly beyond the control of the em- 

21 Ltr, Wm, J. Bridges, Jr., Prod Div, ASF, to Col C. S. Urwiller, Asst Dir, PW 
Div, 23 .Tun 44, sub : Memorandum on Prisoner of War putpwood operations in Lufkin, 
Tex,, area. PMGO 253.5 Gen. P/W#2, Lumbering (4 Apr 44 thru 5 Mar 45). DRR, TAG. 

23 PW Cir 43, e Sep 44, sub: Contracts for Prisoner of Wsir Labor. Copy in "Prisoner 
Of War Operations," op. ait., vol I of Tabs. 

23 TM 19-500, p. 51B. For the requirements that had to be met 'before a branch PW 
labor camp was established, see : Lecture, Cli, Works Project Br, rw Div, Hq 9th Svc 
Cmd, 9 Jan 45, sub: Prisoner of War Labor in the Ninth Service Command, pp. 5-6. 
File in California Agricultural Extension Service, "1944 Annual Narrative Report Emer- 
gency Farm Labor Project," Exhibit 2. Extension, Div of Field Studies and Training. 
Dept of Agriculture ; see also : Ltr, Maj Gen A. L. Lerch, TPMG, to Hon. Frank Carlson, 
HR, 13 Jul 40, PMGO 353.5 Gen P/W Contracts (1. Jul-31 Aug 45). DRB, TAG. 



ployer. The penalty provision caused much dissatisfaction among the 
farmers because of the weather hazards, but The Provost Marshal 
General indicated that it was not intended to penalize the conscientious 
contract employer who had planned his work carefully and who had 
used reasonable care in the operation of his business or farm. Each 
employer could appeal a decision on the penalty provision from the 
PW camp commander to the commanding general of the service 
command. 2 * 

The Opposition of Organized Labor 

Organized labor necessarily had a continuing interest in the way 
and extent that PW labor was employed. Under War Manpower 
Commission regulations the union was consulted in areas where labor 
agreements were in effect, and it was given every opportunity to help 
recruit free labor before the P¥ labor certification was submitted. 
When a local labor organization had a collective bargaining agree- 
ment with the employer and objected to the employer's use of prisoners 
of war, the local War Manpower Commission representative tried to 
dissuade the union from objecting. If he were unsuccessful, a full 
statement of the reasons for the objection was transmitted with the 
certification. 25 Neither, the Army nor the War Manpower Commis- 
sion pursued a policy of forcing through PW labor contracts over the 
protests of local labor unions, lest serious labor relations problems be 
incurred. Rather, a policy of information and cooperation was fol- 
lowed. The approach, as expressed in the February 1944 conference' 
of service commanders, was that organized labor should be persuaded 
that PW labor was a necessary wartime expedient j that this labor pool 
would not be retained after hostilities had ended; that PW's would be 
used only when free labor was not available ; and that the use of PW's 
would in no way endanger the civilian wage scale because the cost to 
any employer was the same for both. 

Despite this approach to the labor situation, the attitude of organ- 
ized labor often impeded the development of the PW employment pro- 
gram, especially on military installations. Even though post com- 
manders found it impossible to hire sufficient civilian workers from 
the ranks of organized labor and had contacted local unions in efforts 
to obtain the needed workers, some unions frequently objected to the 
use of prisoners of war. Organized labor failed to recognize the fact 
that PW labor alleviated the manpower shortage and contributed ma- 
terially to the successful pursuit of victory. Great pressure was 

M, Maj Gen Archer L. Lerch, TPMG, to Sen. J. W. Jfulbright, 30 Jul 45. Ibid. 

s WMO Field Instructions 43, Bureau of Placement 1.95, 22 May 44, sub: Utilization 
of Prisoner of War Labor. Records of the War Manpower Commission. The National 
Archives : Minutes, ASF Conference of Commanding Generals of Service Commands, 3 7-19 
Feb 44, Dallas, Tex., pp. 99-100, 338, ASF Control Div File. DRB, TAG. 



exerted on The Provost Marshal General to stop the employment of 
all Pff's on military' installations. 

An attempt was made by the Industrial Personnel Division, Army 
Service Forces, early in 1944 to curtail the use of PW's on military 
installations, possibly in view of labor's protests. As an alternative, 
it suggested that they be used in private industry — a step that aroused 
the immediate opposition of The Provost Marshal General. He 
quickly pointed out that the shortage of available civilian labor, the 
lack of service troops, and the greater labor costs of civilian employees 
warranted the use of prisoners of war on the military establishments. 
Consequently, military work by the PW's continued as before despite 
the flow of complaints. But these persisted to the extent that in the 
spring of 1945 Congressman Jennings Randolph of West Virginia in- 
troduced a bill in Congress (H. R. 2833) that would have, prohibited 
any Federal agency from using prisoners of war on any skilled work. 
To offset any public agitation for a similar bill restricting PW em- 
ployment on semiskilled and unskilled work, ASF proposed that PW's 
be used only when local recruiting agencies certified there was no avail- 
able civilian labor, regardless of whether funds were available to pay 
civilian labor or not. 26 

Finally in April 1945 representatives from the Office of the Provost 
Marshal General met with representatives of the American Federation 
of Labor Building Trades Department and with Mr. William Green, 
President of the Federation, to discuss the use of prisoners of war on 
construction and nonrecurring or extraordinary maintenance work.- 7 
As a result of these meetings, Army Service Forces issued Circular No. 
142 which restated its policy that PW's would not be used on construc- 
tion work if civilian labor was available. It further stated that if they 
were used, prevailing wages or costs per unit would be charged against 
the appropriate cost account although they would not be charged to ap- 
propriated funds. At the same time, the American Federation of 
Labor issued the following statement to all its local chapters : 

It is understood between the representatives of labor and the representa- 
tives of the War Department when a request is made to supply workmen 
that if they are not available in the numbers necessary to carry out the 
construction project contemplated, the War Department or their agent will 
employ prisoners of war until such" time as the necessary number of work- 
men can be supplied. 28 

so Routing slip, I,t Ming to files, 5 Apr 45, sub : Use of Prisoner of War Labor on Military 
Installations ; routing slip, Lt Col Sufrin to Col Bremian, 6 Apr 45, sub : Proposed Changes 
m Policy on Use of Prisoner of War Labor. Copies of both in ASF Prisoners of War 
{ 1 May 44-May 45 ) . DRB, TAG. 

» Memo, Col R. F. Gow, Dir, Inrl Pore Div, for DCofS for Svc Cmtfs, 5 May 45 suh • 
TM 19-500, Enemy Prisoners of War. Ibid, 

^Ltr, Building and Construction Trades Dept., AFofL, to Presidents, National and 
International Unions, etc., 23 Apr 45. TUd. 



Figure 3. Nasi prisoners of war arrimng in New York,. 

This policy statement applied only to the Army Service Forces in- 
stallations in question and did not cover labor unions other than build- 
ing tradesmen. It did, nevertheless, serve as a buffer against other 
labor complaints, which slackened considerably after the letter was 

The Rise in Prisoner Employment 

As a result of the efforts to obtain maximum PW employment, the 
overall percentage of available prisoners of war who were actually 
working rose to 72.8 percent by 31 May 1944, as compared to about 60 
percent, in February 1944. This was due largely to the shifting of the 
prisoners within and among service commands in. accordance with 
military and civilian needs as indicated by the labor surveys, and to the 
activation of many new branch work camps, particularly those used 
for agricultural employment. 3!) By 20 April 194.S, the percentage of 
available prisoners of war actually working reached 91.3 percent. 30 
By the end of the war in Europe the demand for PW labor was so great, 
that it was impossible for the War Department to fill all the needs. 31 
Altogether, the prisoners worked a total of 851,994 man-months from 

»PMGO, Prisoner of War Monthly Labor 'Reports, 1844 (31 May 44). DEB, TAG. 

m "Statement on Enemy Prisoners of War in the United! States, by Brigadier General 
B. M. Pry an, Jr., Assistant The Provost Marshal General, Before Military Affairs Com- 
mitted of the House of representatives, Thursday, April 26, 1945." Copy in. "Prisoner 
of War Operations," op. mt. r vol, II of Talis, Tab. 104. 

31 Summary Sheet, Brig Gen J. F, Battley, IS Jim 45, sub: Allocation to tlxs Navy of 
Prisoners of War for Tabor ; Itr, USW to See of Navy, 21 Jim 45 ; ltr, Sec of Navy to 
SW, 6 .fan 45. All in OofS 383.6 see. V, eases, 350-400. DKB, TAG. "Numerous requests 
for prisoner labor during this period are contained in files PMGO 253,5 Gen P/W (1945— 
1946) and PMGO 253,5 Gen. P/W Agriculture (1945-1946), DRB, TAG. 



June 1944 to August 1945 in various industries, broken clown as 

follows : n 

Agriculture 439, 163 

Pulpwood, lumber „ 165,743 

Mining, quarrying 2,738 

Construction 9, 940 

Food processing 110,789 

Other manufacturing 46, 840 

Transportation 1, 469 

Trade 8, 558 

Other nongovernmental work 11, 823 

Public 50, 931 


More prisoners of war were used on farms in the United States than 
in any other form of PW contract labor during World War II. They 
filled the gap in the domestic supply caused by inductions into the 
armed forces, employment in war industries, and rising wartime de- 
mands for additional food and fiber. Their work not only prevented 
crop loss but increased production. 

To secure acceptance of prisoners of war as a source of labor within 
agricultural communities, a well-developed education program was 
conducted. Even with such a program, some communities refused at 
first to permit PW employment on the farms because of high feeling 
against the enemy. 33 The opposition dwindled as experience with 
the use of PW's increased, but the basic antagonisms always remained 
to create problems which continued to confront the program. 

In March 1943 the Deputy Chief of Staff directed that the PW's be 
shifted from "nonessential work" to agriculture. But even after this 
shift in policy and the importation of Mexican and Jamaican workers, 
the agricultural demands for prisoners of war constantly exceeded 
the supply — a situation that existed until the end of the war. From 
late 1943 to early 1946, prisoners of war were employed in nearly 
every major agricultural section of the United States on many dif- 
ferent types of farm work. At first, they were used most frequently 
in the southern and central states, but by 1944 they were used in almost 
every state in the union. At that time work opportunities for 149,000 
PW's existed in agriculture and only about 101,000 were available 
for labor in the United States. 34 Thus it became necessary to plan 

s s> ASF, "Statistical Review, World War II," app. K, pp. 160-61. The discrepancy of 
4,000 in the total cannot be accounted for due to the nonavailability of records. 

83 Eecruitment and Placement Div, Dept of Agriculture, "A Report of the Recruitment 
and Placement of Agriculture Workers Emergency Farm Labor Program {April 1943- 
December 1943)." Records of Extension Service, Farm Labor Records. National Archives. 

34 Ltr, Lt Gen Brehon. Somervell 'to A. N. Hardin, Pres, Univ of Arkansas (Jtin 44). 
PMGO 253.5 Gen P/W (Agriculture) . DRB, TAG. 



for their use during seasonal peaks of demand. On 6 May 1944 the 
Chief of Staff, Army Service Forces, directed the service commands 
to plan timetables for the establishment and discontinuance of PW 
branch labor camps, and to set up tent camps that would allow speedy 
movement from one site to another to meet peak seasonal demands 
in agriculture. Under the new procedure, local representatives of 
the War Manpower Commission or the War Foods Administration 
were to give priority ratings to work projects after the need for PW 
labor had been ascertained. Other measures were also taken to in- 
crease the productivity of the PW's by training them for the tasks in 
demand and by improving supervision. 35 

In 1946, repatriation of some 14,000 PW's was postponed at the 
request of the Secretary of Agriculture so that they could be used on 
essential farm work during the spring months. The Department of 
Agriculture had to pay the costs of transporting the prisoners from 
the PW camps to the areas of employment, primarily in the western 
states where they were used to thin and block sugar beets. 36 

Crops Worked by Prisoners of War [see cJiart 7) 

From October to December 1943, PW's picked over 6,675,000 pounds 
of seed cotton in Mississippi. The cotton had opened about 30 days 
early throughout the state and caused a great strain on the normal 
labor supply. To meet the situation, the county agent, along with 
the county executive committee of the emergency farm labor program, 
shifted the PW's according to the needs of the individual farmers 
so that no group of farmers fell very far behind on their picking. 

Chart 7. Crops Harvested by Prisoners of War* 

Apples. Peaches. Spinach. 
Asparagus. Peanuts. String beans. 
Corn. Pecans. Sugar beets. 
Cotton. Potatoes. Tomatoes. 
Figs. Ilice. Tomato plants for trans- 
Hay. Seed crops. shipment. 
Oats. ■ Small grain. Wheat. 
Onions. Soybeans. 

* Source : Annual Reports of the Farm tabor Program of the various States. Filed in 
Extension, Division of Meld Studies and Training. Department of Agriculture, 

In Missouri, prisoners of war were used to harvest potatoes and to 
shock oats and wheat. PW work in Maryland was quite satisfactory, 
especially in the harvesting of fruit, hay, grain, corn, tobacco, and in 

35 Ltr, Maj Geo W. D. Stver, Cof S, ASF, to CG's, all Svc Cmds, C May 44, sub : Employ- 
ment of Prisoners of War During the Peak Agricultural and Food Processing Season. 

se 1st Ind, PMGO to CG, 9th Svc Cmd, 18 Mar 46. PMGO 253,5 Gen P/W (Agriculture) 
#9 (From 1 Sep 45). DRB, TAG; see also: California Agriculture Extension Service, 
"Emergency Farm Labor Project Annual Narrative Report, 1946," pp, 27-28. Extension, 
Division of Field Studies and Training. Department of Agriculture. 



general farm work. However-, they were not as efficient where con- 
siderable handwork and "stoop labor" was involved, such as in pick- 
ing string beans and tomatoes. In Kansas, PW's were used exten- 
sively in the east and southwest portions of the state on large ranches 
where surplus food was produced. In Ellis County, for example, 
they harvested wheat and seed crops, shocked corn, and built fences. 
In Nebraska, PW's were used primarily in' the sugar beet and potato 
harvest. They also harvested other crops and did general farm work. 
In Arkansas, too, PW's worked on all farm chores. 

In Georgia, first priority was given to the harvesting of peanuts, 
and during the harvest season all PW's within the state who could 
possibly be used were placed on farms to do the job. In 1944 these 
prisoners harvested 1,075,000 stacks of peanuts on 58,000 acres, which 
was more than double the output of the PW labor in 1943. This was 
the result of the establishment of a daily task system by the Fourth 
Service Command. 

California used prisoners of war primarily in harvesting. In 
Pennsylvania, they were used for nursery and orchard work; harvest- 
ing; and repairing farm machinery. In Maine, during 1945, PW's 
harvested over 4,890,000 bushels of potatoes. In Texas, in 1945, PW'? 
chopped and picked cotton; harvested corn, hay, rice, peanuts, 
potatoes, figs, and small grains ; and picked peaches, . In Idaho, PW's 
harvested not only sugar beets but also other fruits and vegetables. 
During 1946 the work in most western states was confined mainly to 
thinning sugar beets." 

Work Problems 
Training ss 

In many areas, the effective use of prisoners of war was hindered 
by their lack of skill, aptitude, and experience for the type of work 
demanded. The prisoners performed most effectively on jobs which 
required a minimum of training and skills, and where the routine of 
the job did not require repeated explanation and interpretation. In 
many cases training courses and training techniques were used to en- 
hance output and minimize the problem of supervision. 

In Scottsbluff County, Nebr., pictures were prepared and used in 
PW training for sugar beet work; while in Indianola, Nebr., PW 
group leaders were given a day's instruction on how to pick corn. 
They in turn instructed the other prisoners of war. Considerable 
training was carried out by farm associations in Arkansas, aided by 
the county extension agents and by farm labor field assistants. In 

37 See : Annual Keports of the Farm Tjabor Program of tile various States. Extension, 
Division of Field Studies and Training. Department of Agriculture. 



Illinois, PW job training was handled by employers through inter- 
preters supplied by the Army, An illustrated mimeographed leaflet 
entitled "Snap Sweet Corn Easier and Faster" was translated into 
German and distributed to all sweet corn growers using PW labor; 
motion pictures illustrating sweet corn snapping were shown at sev- 
eral special meetings for the, prisoners. In Utah, the Extension 
Service conducted training schools for the PWs to instruct them in 
the proper thinning of sugar beets, the picking of fruit and tomatoes, 
and in the harvesting of sugar beets. During these instruction periods, 
extra supervisory personnel and interpreters were hired in counties 
where PW labor was used. Instruction cards, printed in German, 
were distributed to the PW's to enable them to improve their per- 
formance on the job. 

In Idaho, the Army provided a one-day training period for 
prisoners of war which permitted the Extension Service to organize 
a coordinated training period. With the assistance of sugar beet field 
men and fruit inspectors, the Service gave the PWs intensive on-the- 
job instruction in the fields or orchards. The sugar companies also 
provided a film with a foreign language sound track depicting the 
production of sugar from beets and including all phases of beet 

Such training efforts paid rich dividends in increasing the produc- 
tivity and skill of the workers as well as in reducing the needed 
amount of supervision and on-the-job instruction. 

Work Procedures 

In July 1943, the War Foods Administration published a tentative 
procedure that allowed a farmer to apply to his local county agent 
for PW labor. It also prescribed a more direct relationship between 
the Department of Agriculture Extension Service representative and 
the PW camp commander — a step that proved most satisfactory. 39 
Consequently when the War Department-War Manpower Commission 
agreement of August 1943 directed that all requests for PW labor for 
agriculture be channeled through the War Manpower Commission, 
farm leaders and agricultural officials were quick to object. They 
stated the new procedure was too slow and restrictive. 40 

To correct this situation, Congress passed a bill which permitted 
the War Foods Administration, through its administrator and the 
agricultural extension service of land grant colleges, to negotiate di- 
rectly with the War Department for PW labor for agriculture. 41 

att War Foods Administration, EFL Cir 13, Jul 43, sub: Tentative Procedure to be Fol- 
lowed in Arranging for War Prisoners for Farm Work, Records of the War Manpower 
Commission. National Archives. 

«WFA Staff Meeting Rpt 83, 16 Mar 44. Records of the War Manpower Commission, 
National Archives. 

41 WFA, EFL Cir 13, Rev. 1, 15 Mar 44. Records of the War Manpower Commission. 
National Archives, 



And in March 1944, the War Department allowed the Director of 
Extension to make his requests for PW -labor direct to the service 
command after the priority of the farm projects had been certified by 
the state director of the War Manpower Commission. 42 

Under the new procedure, the farm program gained impetus. 43 In 
many States, the farmers banded together to make group contracts for 
the employment of prisoners of war on their farms. This eliminated 
both paperwork and the necessity of contracts with individual fann- 
ers. In Maryland and New York, for example, existing farm or- 
ganizations made the group contracts ; and in those counties not cov- 
ered, new associations were formed to make the contracts. The 
associations subcontracted the PW's to individual farmers, arranged 
for their transportation, made collections from the farmers, and 
financed the construction of the PW branch camps. 

In Nebraska, State supervisors met with interested farm groups, 
businessmen, and Army officials to arrange for the employment of 
PW's in those counties requesting PW labor. At these meetings, the 
regulations and requirements, as well as the methods of using and 
supervising this labor, were discussed. Farm labor organizations 
contracted for the PW labor, but in most Nebraska counties new or- 
ganizations had to be formed as the existing farm groups would not 
assume responsibility for the prisoners. 

Iii Arizona, a coordinator of PW labor, appointed in 1944, allotted 
the PW's to different branch PW labor camps at the request of the 
State Extension Service. Within the county the Agricultural Exten- 
sion Service assigned the prisoners to the farmers according to the size 
of the cotton acreage. The system used in Pinal County, Ariz., was 
typical — each PW camp in the county divided its prisoners into five 
150-man work details. A detail was assigned to each farmer serviced 
by the camp for a period of one week according to the size of the cot- 
ton acreage. Those with larger acreages were allowed to keep the 
details for a longer period. 

In Utah, the State Extension Service maintained a full-time labor 
dispatcher at each PW camp to place the prisoners in farm work. The 
labor dispatcher received orders from the farmers and made arrange- 
ments with Army officials to dispatch PW crews to the critical areas. 
Although the Farm Labor Association in Utah acted as the contract- 
ing agent in obtaining prisoners of war for farm employment, the 
Extension Service actually placed the prisoners. This achieved a 
wider and a more efficient use of the PW labor. 

ia Ltr, II. Jj. Stiinson, SW, to Marvin Jones, WFA, 13 Mar 44. G-l 383.9 Labor (14 
May 43), "In Agriculture and Food Processing." DKB, TAG; see also: WFA, KFL Cir 
13, Rev, 2, 1 Jim 45, sub: Policy and Procedure to be Followed in Arranging for the Use 
of Prisoners of War In Agricultural Work. Copy in author's file. 

i3 See : Annual Reports of the Farm Labor Program of the various States. Extension, 
Piyision of Field Studies and Training, Department of Agriculture, 



Other Problems 

Even with the training programs, the problem of supervision proved 
difficult. In some cases, the farmer-employer erroneously assumed the 
guard to be a PW work supervisor. Language difficulties also added 
to the supervisory problems. Where employers used supervisors who 
spoke German or Italian, the difficulties were greatly minimized. 

Nebraska's 1944 extension farm labor program report listed many 
problems connected with the use of PWs on farms : the lack of facili- 
ties for branch PW labor camps ; transportation ; the reluctance of 
farmers to use PW's at the beginning of the program ; the refusal of 
some Army officials to allow PW's to work in details of less than 10 ; 
and a shortage of equipment. These problems were typical of those 
in other states, but time corrected most of them. Farmers came to re- 
alize the value of prisoners of war, and the PW's themselves derived 
new skills from which they earned more money and received fair 
treatment. PW training and educational programs among the farm- 
ers (which taught them to use the prisoners more efficiently) , aided 
the program, Kansas reported that such an educational campaign, 
along with the withdrawal of guards from PW work details, increased 
PW efficiency from 50 percent in 1943 to equality with free labor in 
1944. Arizona's State Extension Service published a useful pam- 
phlet which included the following suggestions for tbe management 
of prisoner of war labor : 

Have everything in readiness so that prisoner labor can go to work imme- 

Have drinking water easily available to all workers. 

Explain the job thoroughly, showing them how you want it done. Work 
with them until they fully understand exactly what is wanted. 

Encourage them in their work. Treat them firmly, but considerately at 
all times. 

The secret of success with prisoner of war labor is good supervision. The 
supervisor should have the job well planned. He should also understand 
fully the handling of men. 

Army guards are responsible for guarding the men and do not supervise 
them in their field work. 

But even the best-laid plans for training and supervision would not 
function unless the farmer- employer was fully aware of his respon- 
sibility for the prisoners of war and was willing to do his part. For 
example, in California in 1944, 110 prisoners of war were assigned to 
a cotton-picking detail without a supervisor, 'nor did anyone check 
on them for an entire day. The weight boss, upon checking the work 
in late afternoon, found that the cotton pick was 56. pounds. In 
the same locality on the very next day, a crew of 70 PW's with a 
field foreman, who worked along and helped individual prisoners, 
picked 127 pounds. The cotton gin reports showed that trash ran 

338203—55 10 ' 



Figure 4. I'risoners of war employed at o, paper mill in Texas. 

only 3 percent on the second day a,s against 5 percent on the .first. 
Good super vi si on i n thi s case pai d dividends. 

Logging and Lumbering 

"When prisoners of war first became available for labor in the sum- 
mer of 1943, there was some question as to whether the Geneva Con- 
vention would, permit their use in cutting and harvesting pulp wood. 
Initially, The Judge Advocate General felt that the provision which 
prohibited the use of PWs on dangerous work forbade their use in 
harvesting wood pulp. But when facts showed that the wood growths 
w r ere small (0 to 8 inches in diameter), that the work was quite dif- 
ferent from heavy logging, and that close supervision would be exer- 
cised to eliminate dangerous working conditions, the War Depart- 
ment authorized the use of PW labor on 1 September 1943. 44 Thence- 
forth the use of PWs in this industry increased rapidly, and the 
average daily employment reached a high of 22,000 in June 1945. 46 

The Fourth Service Command had the heaviest employment of 
prisoners of war in pulp wood production. 48 Nearly 20 percent of its 
pulpwood was produced by PWs. After attempting various methods 

"Memo, Tit Col M. C. Bet-nays, G-l, to Col G. A. Miller, ACofS, G-l, 81 Aug 48, 
G-1 383.6 Labor (26 Jim 48), "In Other Industries (other than Agriculture)." DRB, TAG. 

«Ltr, Brig Gen H. M. Bryan, Ti'MG, to Sen, Robert 1\ Wagner, 4 Feb 4(i, PMGO 
258,5 Gen P/W, Lumbering (1 Apr 45-Ifeb 46) . DRB, TAG. 

*f Ltr, Col O. S. Urwiller, Asst Dir, PW IMv., PMGO, to CG, 1st Svc Cma", 1 Jim 44, 
sub: Experience of. 4th Service Command in using prisoners of war for cutting pulp- 
wood. I~bi&. 



of training, this command determined that best results were obtained 
when representatives of the United States Forest Service, Timber 
Production War Project, supervised the initial instruction. The 
Forest Service detailed a trained forester to instruct PW noncommis- 
sioned officers in the methods to be used. These NCO's then super- 
vised the other prisoners in the woods, but the contractor furnished 
the technical assistance. 

In upper Michigan, prisoners of war were given a two-hour training 
session in safety, demonstrated with tools and with illustrated German 
charts. PW NCO's attended the session first and when the entire 
group later attended, the NCO's were available to explain to the men 
near them any points that needed clarification. Immediately after the 
safety program, job training commenced. First, a local woodsman 
did the job with the PW's observing; following this, groups of, four 
PW noncommissioned officers were actually shown how to do the job. 
A trainer was assigned to each group. Of the four learners, two 
worked and two watched. In this way, bad habits were spotted and 
broken at the start. After half a day's instruction, for the PW non- 
commissioned officers, the remaining PW's were trained with the help 
of the noncoms. Kach trainer taught eight PW privates a day. Ideal 
groups, which included two local experienced woodsmen, six woods 
foremen, and other experienced personnel, could train about sixty 
prisoners a day. Usually a minimum of four days was necessary for 
the' training of a group. 

After their initial instruction, the PW's were put to work in crews 
of about 25 men, under 2 German NCO's and an American foreman. 
Within three or four days they became fairly familiar with chemical 
wood and wood pulp cutting, although some details, such as choosing 
the general direction to fell a tree, what trees to cut, where to locate 
skid roads, and what wood was suitable for chemical and pulp wood, 
required further experience. 

The best results were achieved when advance preparations had been 
made. Camp morale suffered when some PW's worked and the rest 
remained idle. The assistant -area forester in Michigan listed the 
following tips to those using PW's: (1) The political situation was 
never to be discussed with them or in their presence; (2) Good fore- 
manship was extremely important and was always to be substituted 
for verbal abuse. He pointed out that PW's naturally resented having 
a product rejected when counted for pay purposes, and then later 
seeing it loaded on the truck with forest products accepted as being 
suitable. 47 

41 Rpt, Ralph H. Ahlskog, Asst Area Forester, Mich., to Area Forester, Mich,, 17 Apr 
44, sub : Prisoner of War L&hor. Attached to ltr, Thos. F. Grayson, Pulpwootl Consultant, 
Paper Div, WPB, to Col C. S. Urwiller, PMGO, 11 May 44, PMGO 253.5 Gen. {War Pro- 
duction Board, 1943-44). DRB, TAG. 



The task system proved successful in increasing the efficiency of 
PW labor. The application of the task system, plus good training 
and supervision, resulted in an. increase in, wood pulp cutting from 
.3 cord per day to approximately .9 cord per day in all areas where 
PW labor was used. 48 Lower production resulted from insufficient 
supervision by the pulpwood user; a lack of understanding of the 
functions of the guards (who were sometimes thought to be super- 
visors) ; improperly cared-for tools; and necessary shifting of 
personnel caused by Army requirements.*" 

Despite the urgent need for lumber products and an acute shortage 
of workers, some unions opposed the use of prisoners of war, particu- 
larly in the Pacific northwest. In this area, all labor certifications 
were approved or disapproved at the regional level (as- the result of 
the agreement between the regional director of the War Manpower 
Commission and the Kegional Labor-Management Committee), but 
the labor members of the regional committee opposed the use of any 
German PW's in lumbering operations. 

In Minnesota, union opposition increased to a point where a strike 
was threatened if PW's were used in logging. When the War Man- 
power Commission certified the use of 600 PW's for logging work in 
Minnesota, the local union objected and stated that free labor could be 
hired. The president of the union had previously stated that there 
was a shortage of 4,000 men in the Minnesota forests and that the union 
could- not supply this number; but he claimed that by the proper use 
of labor in other industries, sufficient men could be made available for 
the forests. The union also cited the danger of sabotage and waste if 
unskilled PW labor were used. The regional director of the War 
Manpower Commission considered the union's position unjustified and 
recommended certification; the need for supplementary labor was 
clear, and PW's had been worked successfully in the lumber industry 
on the east coast without sabotage. On 17 December 1943, the certi- 
fication was approved, and the PW's were used without incident. 50 
In 1945 the pulpwood industry alone employed approximately 
17,500 prisoners of war, largely in the southern wood-producing states, 
the Appalachian region, and in northern Michigan and Minnesota. 
Mr. J. A. Krug, chairman of the War Production Board, emphasized 

* s Mr, Hon Zebulon Weaver to Col C. S. UrwHler, Asst Dir, PW Div, PMGO, 16 Aug 44. 
PMGO 253.5 Gen P/W (Lumbering). DKB, TAG. 

i0 Ltr, Frank Hey wood, Jr., Pulpwood Consultant, WPB, to A. L. Wenricli, Wood Dept., 
Hummel Ross Fiber Corp., Hopewell, Va., 28 Dec 43. PMGO 253.5 Gen. (War Produc- 
duction Board, 1943-44). DEB, TAG. 

Memo, Maj Gen M. G. White, ACofS, G-l, for CofS, 5 Dee 45, sub: Prisoner of War 
Labor in Minnesota. ; ltr, F. M. Rauff, Jr., Regional Dir, WMC, to Maj W. D. Wolcott, Ci), 
PW Br, 7th Sve Cmtl, 29 Nov 43, w/attachd memo; DF, Lt Coi G, B. Waller, Asst Exec, 
G-l, to PMGO, 17 Dec 43, sub : Prisoner of War Labor in Minnesota. G-l 383.6 Labor 
(26 Jum 43), "In Other Industries (other than Agriculture)." DRB, TAG, 



that prisoners of war produced approximately one-third of all pulp- 
wood in the southern and Appalachian states. 51 

Food Processing 

Prisoners of war were as valuable a source of labor for the food 
processing industry as for agriculture. 53 In numerous instances, crops 
would not have been properly canned or preserved had it not been for 
PW labor. The nature of PW employment in food processing work 
varied from State to State, but the usefulness of the prisoners as well 
as their problems proved to be remarkably uniform. In Indiana, PWs 
were used in tomato canning and were adept as retort (distilling) 
operators and as operators of receiving, packing, and closing machines. 
Had PWs not been used, tons of tomatoes would have spoiled in the 
fields due to an inadequate supply of free labor. 

During the 1944 season, a group of seven canners reported the use 
of PWs had made possible the saving and processing of greater quan- 
tities of asparagus, tomatoes, and other vegetables than in 1943. And 
in 1944, the Association of New York State Canners passed a resolu- 
tion recommending highly the use of PWs in both agriculture and 
food processing. 

As in other fields, good training and supervision produced effective 
results in increasing the efficiency of prisoner of war work. The main 
problems arose from fear of sabotage and food poisoning : PWs who 
worked in canning factories were under military guard, and every 
possible precaution was taken to prevent sabotage. Army Veterinary 
Corps inspectors, in plants where PW labor was used, inspected food 
products for possible damage. Where possible, the prisoners were not 
assigned to any work that would give them access to food products that 
would not be cooked or sterilized after each contact. 63 

Many complaints of PW inefficiency and damage proved, after in- 
vestigation, to be exaggerated. In the summer of 1944, the Hoopeston 
Canning Company of Illinois alleged that German prisoners of war 
employed in asparagus production had trampled asparagus beds and 
had refused to work. The company also alleged that Army authorities 
would not cooperate to prevent such practices. 54 A subsequent inves- 
tigation revealed that out of 43 working days satisfactory work had 

El Ltr, J. A. Krug, Cbm, WPB, to H. L. Stimson, SW, 6 Aug 45 ; memo, Maj Gen A. L. 
Lei-ch, TPMG, to CG, ASF, 13 Aug 45, sub: Use of Prisoners of War in Forest Employ- 
ment. PMGO 233.5 Gen P/W (Lumbering), DRB, TAG. 

Ba Tne U. S. Employment Service estimated that approximately 75 percent of tbe jobs 
in oanning factories could be manned by PWs. 

63 Ltr, Brig Gen E. H. Duulop, Aetg TAG, to CG's, all Stc Cmds, etc., 13 Mar 45, sub : 
Utilization of Prisoners of War in Food Processing Plants. PMGO 253.5 Gen. (thru 
Mar 45). DRB, TAG. 

"*DF, Brig Gen J. F. Battley, CofS for Svc Cmds, to CofS, ASF, 25 Aug 44, sub: Pris- 
oner of War Labor in Hoopeston Canning Company, Hoopeston, III, FMGO 253.5 Gen 
P/W (Canneries). DEB, TAG. 



been performed by the prisoners on 39 days. "Work was unsatisfactory 
on only 4 days. The field manager of the canning company stated : 
"Taking into consideration all of the angles of the cutting of the as- 
paragus, I would say that the prisoners of war are doing as good if 
not a little better work than civilians would do. I only hope that they 
will work out as well during our corn pack season as they have in our 
asparagus pack." A report from the commanding general of the Sixth 
Service Command also stated that the PW camp commander called 
/ numerous meetings with the canning officials during the course of this 
work and did everything within reason to cooperate. Thus, it ap- 
peared that the statement made by the Hoopeston Canning Company 
was without foundation. 55 


As in other work, the hectic days of World War II with its drains 
on manpower and its demands for increased production produced a 
labor crisis within the meat packing industry. Available civilian 
labor preferred the advantages and comfort of defense work to the 
unpleasant working conditions associated with slaughter houses and 
stockyards. And promises of increased pay failed, to attract the 
needed workers. Yet the industry faced an abnormal situation. The 
demands for meat and meat products forced the cattle grower to ship 
his herds direct to the stockyards, foregoing the normal fattening 
periods on Illinois farms. Lend-lease shipments of meat plus the 
needs of our armed forces had to be met, and a critical shortage of 
labor existed. Consequently, the meatpacking industry turned, its eyes 
to the manpower pool offered by prisoners of war. But only about 
1 00 were used in this field . 56 

In October 1943, the regional director of the War Manpower Com- 
mission requested the War Department to build a PW labor camp 
near the Chicago area (Region VI) to house prisoners needed for 
labor purposes within the meatpacking industry, but this request met 
with considerable opposition. Both Maj. Gen. H. S. Aurand, Com- 
manding General, Sixth Service Command, and the Deputy Chief of 
Staff for Service Commands, CoL J. F. Battley, opposed the request 
on the grounds of its being unsound and uneconomical. "All things 
considered it will take more manpower hours to handle the prisoners, 
including the construction that will be required, than the prisoners 
^would perform at work," General Aurand stated. 57 

85 Ltr, SW to Hon. Louis Ludlow, IIR, 25 Aug 44. Copy in ibid. 

<** See : G-l 3SS.6 Labor (14 May 43), "In Agriculture and Food Processing." DRB, TAG. 

67 1st Ind, Maj Gen H. S. Aurand, CG, 6th Svc Cm<3, to CG, ASF, 7 Oct 43 ; 2d Iud, Col 
J. F. Eattley, Asst DCofS for Svc Cmds, ASF, to TPMG, 12 Oct 43. Both filed in ibid; 
see also : Telephone Conversation, Gen Aurand to Gen B. M. Bryan, 13 Oct 43. Tran- 
script filed in PM Br, Security & Intel] I3iv, 6th Svc Cmd, 263.5 Employment of Prisoners 
Of War (vol. II). DPRB, TAG. 



In addition, The Surgeon General, upon being consulted, recom- 
mended that PW. labor not be used inside the meatpacking plants 
because of the possible danger to the meat products: " . . . to do so 
would be a hazardous risk jeopardizing the food supply the Medical 
Department is exercising all possible care to protect/' 58 (At this 
time the disease -rate among prisoners of war was much higher than 
among civilian workers.) The Surgeon General recommended fur- 
ther that if PW's were to be used, they be given work only dn the yards 
or in fertilizer and hide plants where they would have no possible 
contact with edible meats. 

Although The Provost Marshal General agreed with the recom- 
mendations of The Surgeon General, G-l did not consider such wide 
restraints necessary, especially in the light of the critical manpower 
situation, if the necessary health, security, and housing arrangements 
for the PW's could be made. Therefore, he postponed any immediate 
action on the request of the War Manpower Commission for the camp 
and directed The Provost Marshal General and The Surgeon General 
to investigate the meatpacking industry and determine the practica- 
bility of using prisoners of war. Meanwhile, the War Department 
studied the possibility of using Italian prisoners in the industry. 59 

l^efore the investigation of the meatpacking industry was com- 
pleted, the manpower crisis forced a decision. Mr. James Byrnes 
(then head of the War Mobilization Board), acting on the advice of 
Mr. Marvin Jones of the War Foods Administration who viewed 
the critical meatpacking industry with alarm and as one having the 
greatest need for labor, urged the Under Secretary of War to ex- 
pedite the use of prisoners of war. Accordingly, the War Depart- 
ment authorized The Provost Marshal General to use. German pris- 
oners of war on this work. ,so The Chicago Meat Institute, represent- 
ing the meatpacking industry, had estimated its PW needs to be 
15,000; therefore, the Office of The Provost Marshal General author- 
ized the immediate use of 7,000 available PW's in the meatpacking 
plants. These prisoners had to pass a physical examination before 
they could be employed, and an adequate inspection, service had to 
be provided to insure that the meat products were free from contami- 
nation by the prisoners. 61 

B Memo, Maj Gen N, T, Kirk, TSG, to T.PMG, 11 Oct 43. G-l 383.6 Labor (14 May 43), 
"In Agriculture and Food Processing." DUB, TAG. 

"Memo, Maj Gen A. W. Gullioii, TPMG, to CofS, 18 Oct 43, sub: Prisoner of War 
Labor In the Moat Packing Industry ; DF, Maj Gen M. G. White, ACofS, G-1 , to CG, ASF, 
30 Oct 43, sub : Prisoner of War Labor in the Meat Packing Industry ; memo, R. P. Pat- 
terson, TJSW, to Maj Gen M. G. White, 10 Oct 43. All filed in ibid. 

""Memo, R. P. Patterson, USW, to Maj Gen M. G. White, 10 Not 43; memo, Maj Gen 
M. G. White, ACofS, G-l, for TPMG, 10 Nov 43. Copies filed in ibid. 

«i Memo, Maj Gen W. D. Styer for TPMG, 8 Dec 43, sub : Use of Prisoners of War in 
Meat Packing Industry ; Itr, Col G. S. Pierce to CO's, Prisoner of War Camps, 7th Svc 
Cmd, 4 Dec 43, sub: Prisoner of War Labor. PMGO 253.5 Gen P/W (Meat Packing), 



Meanwhile, the investigating team in Chicago reported that the 
local meatpacking industry needed only 785 prisoners of war, and 
that it had been unable to .reach an agreement with the labor unions 
as to the use of these prisoners. In addition, on 27 November 1943, 
Mr. James P. Mitchell, Director, Industrial Personnel Division, wrote 
tlie Under Secretary of War that he thought it unwise to use prisoners 
in the Chicago meatpacking industry. lie reiterated the reasons ad- 
vanced earlier by The Surgeon General and by the commanding gen- 
eral of the Sixth Service Command. However, he added the sig- 
nificant point that the War Manpower Commission, after discussions 
with some important packers, had not made the formal certification 
of the need for PW's in the industry. He also stated that employe! 
opinion was divided and that labor opposition was inevitable. Mr. 
Mitchell therefore proposed that no further action be taken until addi- 
tional consideration had been given the problem by the War Man- 
power Commission. 62 

Based on the findings of the War Manpower Commission as re- 
vealed in Mr. Mitchell's memorandum and coupled with the objections 
of The Surgeon General and the commanding general of the Sixth 
Service Command, the Chief of Staff, ASF, ordered The Provost 
Marshal General . . to take no further action with respect to the 
use of prisoners of war in the Chicago meatpacking plants." 83 

Meanwhile, the War Manpower Commission, by the use of a large 
recruiting program induced women, farmers, farm workers who had 
completed their season's operations, high school students, soldiers on 
temporary passes, and others to secure employment in the industry. 
By mid-December 1943, all packinghouse requirements were met and 
clearance orders for additional workers were canceled. Plans had 
been made, however, to use Italian PW's if the labor need could not 
be met from civilian channels. 64 Italian prisoners of war were sub- 
sequently used in cold storage plants in the Omaha-Council Bluffs 
area to haul frozen meats and fowl, but the number used never 
exceeded 100. 

No mention is made in the PW files of the Sixth Service Command 
of the use of prisoner of war contract labor in any meatpacking plants 
in Chicago' or East St. Louis — two of the principal meatpacking 
centers. Therefore, it must be assumed that the use of such prisoners 
in the meatpacking industry was slight, although their use was later 

63 Memo, J. P. Mitchell, Dir. Incl Pers Div, for USW. 7 Dec 43, sub: Prisoners of War. 
G-l 883.6 Labor (14 May 43), "In Agriculture and Food Processing." DRB, TAG. 

« 3 Memo, Maj Gen W. D. Styer for TPMG, 8 Doc 43, sub : Use of Prisoners of War in 
Meat Packing Industry. PMGO 253,5 Gen. P/W (Meat Packing). DEB, TAG. 

•*Ltr, W. H. Spencer, Regional Dir, Region VI, to Exec Dir, WMC, 1 Mar 44, sub: Dis- 
cussion Between Charlotte Can- . . . and Regional Rural Industries Representative on 
Manpower Shortage of Meat Packers, 2G Feb 44 ; lti\ United Packinghouse Workers of 
America to all local Unions, etc. 4 Fob 44. Meat Packing Industries (1944). Records 
of War Manpower Commission. National Archives. 



permitted, and considerable use was made of their services in other 
phases of food processing. 65 

Fertilizer Plants 

The use of prisoner of war labor in the fertilizer industry was small 
but important because of the vital link between the industry and agri- 
culture. This was best illustrated by the experience of 16 fertilizer 
manufacturing companies in the vicinity of Norfolk, Ya. These com- 
panies, which served farmers in Virginia and North. Carolina, faced 
sharp curtailments in production if they could not secure additional 
labor, and free labor was unobtainable. , 

In 1944, prisoner of war employment was initially delayed because 
of a lack of housing and camp facilities. Fertilizer manufacturers 
could not construct nor could they make housing available in time to 
permit PW labor to be used during the manufacturing season. Army 
Service Forces alleviated the situation by converting sufficient hous- 
ing and facilities at Camp Ashby, Va., to accommodate 650 PW's who 
were used effectively in the fertilizer plants. 00 

In 1945, the fertilizer industry in the Norfolk, Va., area again suf- 
fered from a manpower shortage, but this time, unlike 1944, the prob- 
lem was not one of facilities. No prisoners of war were available for 
this or for any other type of work. This problem was overcome when 
the War Manpower Commission assigned a sufficiently high priority 
to the fertilizer project to allow the transfer of 300 PW's to the Third 
Service Command. 67 

Mining and Quarrying 

As early as May 1943, mining companies requested permission to 
employ PW's in mines because of labor shortages, but the total number 
actually employed was not high. The Judge Advocate General had 
ruled that PW employment in open pit mining would violate Article 
32 of the Geneva Convention since blasting was involved, and that 
was classified as dangerous work. 88 However, in July 1943, he reversed 
his decision and stated that the PW's could be used in open pit surface 
operations without violating the Geneva Convention, provided the 
prisoners who handled heavy materials wore hardtoe shoes and goggles 
and specific safety precautions were taken. 

63 Ltr, AG, ASP, to CG's, all Svc Cmds, 13 Mar 45, sub : Utilization of Prisoners of War 
in Food Processing Fliints. PW File, 2d Svc Cmd, Labor Policies and Directives 

™Ltr, Col C. S. Urwillor, Asst Dir, PW Div, PMGO, to Sen. M. E. TydiiiKS, 9 Mar 44. 
PMGO 233.5 Gen P/W (Fertilizer). DRB, TAG. 

BT Ltr, Col A. M. Tollisoii, Dir, PW Opns Div, PMGO, to CG, 3d Svc Cmd, 3 Mar 45, sub : 
Additional Prisoners of War for Fortilixei' Industry; ltr, John W. Collins, Dir, Bureau of 
Placement, WMC, to Col C. S. Urwiller, 27 Feb IS. Copies in ibid. 

08 Memo, Brig Gen B. M. Bryan, -Dir, Aliens Div, PMGO, for ACofS, G-l, 18 May 43, 
sub: Prisoner of War Labor. PMGO 253.5 Gen. P/W (Mines). DRB, TAG . 


Because of the limitations imposed by this ruling and by the Geneva 
Convention, only about one to three thousand PW's were employed 
on this work at any one time — the percentage employed ranged from 
one-tenth of 1 percent to about 1 percent of the total number of PW's 
employed elsewhere. en 

Foundry Work 

Very few prisoners of war were employed in foundry work. How- 
ever, the quality of the work performed was reported generally as 
being very good, and, as in other industries, the demand for PW labor 
far exceeded the supply. At one time when only 1,065 PW foundry 
workers were available, requests for paroled Italian PW's alone 
totaled over 12,000. Even with those having a related experience 
the total available was only approximately 4,000. 70 

Despite the limited supply, good use was made of their services. 
A report from the Toledo, Ohio, area indicated that prisoners of war 
shoveled sand; carried, cleaned, and ground castings; loaded and 
unloaded cars; and aided in ladlepouring. Others worked as 
molders' helpers and did semiskilled work. The caliber of PW work 
was very satisfactory. In one factory (Brown Industries, Sandusky, 
Ohio), the enthusiastic employers upgraded German PW workers as 
rapidly as possible because they demonstrated sufficient knowledge 
and a capacity to perform more highly skilled jobs. 


The use of PW labor on railroad maintenance was very limited 
throughout the war because of labor opposition. Prisoners of war 
performed only 1,469 manpower months of work in all forms of trans- 
portation during World War II. 71 Railroad labor unions strongly 
opposed PW employment, and a frustrating series of negotiations 
among various Federal agencies failed to produce a workable agree- 
ment surmounting the unions' objections. 

In the spring of 1943, J. J. Pelley, president of the Association of 
American Railroads, suggested that PW's be used, on railroad main- 
tenance. In reply, the Under Secretary of War, in June 1943, stated 
that the Geneva Convention permitted the use of PW's on track main- 
tenance ; but the matter did not rest with this simple ruling. 72 Within 

™PMGO, "Prisoner of Wur Monthly Labor Heports, 1944." DRB, TAG. 

w Memo, John K, Collins, Dir, Bureau of Placement, WMC, to Vernon A. MeGee, Dop 
Exec Dir, WMC, 2 Feb 45, sub : Report on Prisoners of War Employed In Foundries, War 
Manpower Commission Central Files, Labor Mobilization and Utilization 4-4-1. Records 
of the Wur Manpower Commission, National Archives. 

71 "Statistical lieview, World War II," op. cit-., pp. 160-01. 

72 Ltt, SW Stimson to Mr. .7, J, Pelley, Pres, Assoc of American Railroads, 28 Jun 43; 
Itr, USW Robt. P. Patterson to Wo. F. Jeffers, Off of Rubber Div, WPB, 25 Tun 43. 
G-l 383.6 Labor (26 Jun 43), "In Other Industries (other than agriculture)." DRB, TAG. 



a few weeks a controversy over the specific use of PW's flared up, and 
as a result very few prisoners of war ever worked on the railroads. 

A test case 73 arose in July 1943 when the PW camp at Camp Clark, 
Mo., contracted to supply the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad 
with 250 prisoners of war for about 150 days. These were to help 
construct a railroad switching yard at Lincoln, Nebr. The contract 
had the necessary approvals and certifications from local agents of 
the War Manpower Commission, and the railroad company already 
had completed 50 percent of a temporary PW camp on the site. But 
the local labor union strongly objected. In July 1943 the Railway 
Labor Executives' Association (the union) adopted a resolution op- 
posing the use of PW labor in any line of railway work for the follow- 
ing reasons: (1) They feared possible sabotage ; (2) they thought such 
work by the prisoners would violate the Geneva Convention; and (3) 
they maintained the use of PW labor -would have an adverse effect 
upon the morale and efficiency of free railroad labor thereby causing 
labor troubles. 

The War Department contended that the union's fear of sabotage 
was unfounded and forwarded, the case to the Office of War Mobiliza- 
tion with the request that the protest be overruled. The prisoners 
had been segregated, and all security requirements had been met. In 
addition, the PW's were to work in a portion of the yard where there 
was no opportunity for sabotage. Furthermore, since the yard was 
used for general traffic, no violation of the Geneva Convention was in- 
volved. The Secretary of War indicated that if the union's protests 
were upheld, it would not only preclude the use of PW's in any ca- 
pacity on railroads, but it might well set a precedent against their 
use in any other industrial employment. 

The director of War Mobilization, James F. Byrnes, overruled the 
union's protest but stated that the case should not be regarded as a 
precedent for future cases. He recommended a general policy be 
formulated to assure railroad workers that PW's would not be used 
on any work that would endanger the workers' safety. Victory for the 
railroad was rather hollow, however, for while the decision was pend- 
ing, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy found it necessary to complete 
the project before cold weather and so hired free labor, withdrawing 
completely from the prisoner of war negotiations. 
. To comply with the recommendation of the War Mobilization di- 
rector for a general policy statement covering sabotage and safety, the 
War Department required all contracts for PW employment on rail- 
road maintenance to contain the following clause : 

The railroad recognizes and assumes the responsibility for the safety of its 
movements anil of its employees. All railroad maintenance work performed 

™ For correspondence oti this ease, see : G-l 383.6 Labor (26 Jun 43), "In other indus- 
tries (other than agriculture) ." DRB, TAG. 



in whole or in part by prisoners of war will be inspected by competent and 
technically-equipped representatives of the railroads to insure that the 
quality of such work is at least equal to or greater than existing standards 
of safety and at least as high as necessary to meet existing federal require- 
ments and as high as would be enacted by the railroad with respect to work 
performed by free labor. Adequate provision will be made through inspec- 
tion by competent and qualified representatives of the railroad for the 
purpose of affording protection, against acts of sabotage by war prisoners, 
given access in connection with thefr work for the railroad." 

Although the War Manpower Commission chairman appeared to ac- 
cept this new policy, other major difficulties in getting PW's on the job 
were never solved. 76 In November 1943 another test ease 70 arose 
when the Pittsburg and Shawmut Railroad Company was stymied in 
its efforts to obtain PW labor. The area director of the War Man- 
power Commission contended that the safety terms of the Geneva 
Convention were violated by the use of PW's on railroads and it was 
not long before the issue was before the top level of the War Depart- 
ment. Secretary of War Stimson informed Chairman McNutt of 
the War Manpower Commission of the War Department's ruling that 
railroad maintenance work M r as appropriate for prisoners of war 
within the provisions of the Geneva Convention, and called the im- 
mediate issue a "misunderstanding." Secretary Stimson indicated 
further that if it was not corrected it would result in a failure to em- 
ploy PW's in a field where the manpower shortage was critical. 

Chairman McNutt responded that the field units of the War Man- 
power Commission had been instructed in October 1943 not to certify 
PW's for railroad employment without the specific approval of the 
Washington headquarters. He stated that this did not involve in- 
terpretation of the Geneva Convention but merely reflected "operat- 
ing policy." Chairman McNutt further added that if railroad 
maintenance problems and the needs for manpower became so serious 
that PW's represented the only source of recruitment, the matter 
would then be discussed again with the Management-Labor Policy 
Committee for policy determination — thus apparently a reversal of the 
War Manpower Commission's earlier policy. 

Lack of maintenance which was directly attributable to shortages 
of labor brought about further deterioration of the railroads and 
caused the commanding general of the Army Service Forces in Feb- 
ruary 1944 to survey the extent that PW labor would be needed to 
maintain the roads in the condition necessary to carry out the war 
effort, General Somervell's survey recommended the immediate use 

«Memo, MaJ Gen A. W. Gullion, TPMG, to Coi'S, 18 Sep 43, soli: Prisoner of War 
Labor on Railroads ; memo, Maj Gun M. C. White, ACofS, G-l, for CofS, 22 Sep 43 ; sub : 
Prisoner of War Labor on Railroads. Ibid. 

»Ltr, P. V. McNutt, Chm, WMC, to ITon. Robert Lovctt, Aetg SW, 15 Sep. 43. Ibid. 

78 For correspondence on tins case, see: G-l Labor (20 Jim 43), "In other indus- 
tries (other than agriculture)." DRB, TAG. 



of 50,000 prisoners of war as required, and the use of 45,000 PW's 
■within the following six months to maintain commercial railroad 
properties and to avert impairment of efficiency. 77 At the time of 
General Somervell's report, G-l recommended that no action be 
taken until strong support could be received from the Office of De- 
fense Transportation and until labor resistance had been "broken 
down." The accomplishment of these two steps, it felt, would then 
place the War Department in a better position to ask the War Man- 
power Commission to change its attitude. But apparently neither 
of these two developments occurred, for the 50,000 prisoners which 
General Somervell recommended were never made available for 
railroad maintenance work. 78 

The War Manpower Commission did certify a few PW's to work 
on railroads in isolated instances. For instance, in April 1945, 
prisoners of war were used in Texas to repair tracks damaged by a 
flood. But PW employment by the railroads was the exception 
rather than the rule. Although many requests were made by rail- 
roads, evidence is lacking to show whether these requests were ap- 
proved by the chairman of the War Manpower Commission. 79 

The War Department apparently did not press the issue further 
because of strong labor opposition, the need for PW labor in other 
occupations, and the importation of Mexican labor for use on the 

"Memo, Lt Gen Krelion Somervell for CofS, 21 Feb 44, sub: Prisoner of War Labor 
on Railroads. IMd. 

™Memo for Record, Lt Col N. C. Bernays, Legislative and Special Projects Br, G-l, 25 
Feb 44. Apparently in view of the existence of the total number of prisoners available this 
issue, was pursued no further. See: Memo, Lt Col Bernays, Legislative and Special Proj- 
ects Br, G-l, for Exec, G-l, 31 May 44. IMd. 

™Soe: PMGO 263.5 Gen P/W (Railroads). DltB, TAG; see also: WMC General File; 
and Regions I thr XII. Records of ttie War Manpower Commission. National Archives. 

Chapter 1 1 

Governmental Employment of Prisoners of War 

x Military Installations 

The adoption of the "calculated risk" policy gave impetus to the 
PW, employment program, especially at the service command and 
PW camp level. When wholesale escapes and sabotage by the pris- 
oners did not materialize, even the most reluctant commanders 
adjusted to the modified security measures. 

The employment of prisoners of war on military installations, was 
one of the most important phases of the prisoner of war program in 
the United States, yet a uniform employment procedure was not fol- 
lowed. Each service command was allowed a degree of flexibility in 
administering the PW labor program in its area, and each adopted 
its own measures suitable for carrying out the basic War Department 
policies. 1 

Requisition and Allocation of Prisoners 

Service commands estimated their labor requirements according to 
War Department labor priorities and submitted their PW requests to 
The Provost Marshal General. When the prisoners were received at 
incoming centers or at military installations, they were tested and clas- 
sified according to intelligence and aptitude. The special technical 
skills and past records of the prisoners, as well as all. types of work 
done and any new skills required, were duly entered on the records. 

At first, PW distribution was based almost entirely on housing and 
security conditions. By 31 -August 1945, the only area in which the 
camps were restricted was the Military District of Washington. In 
this area, no general prisoners of war could be located or employed 
within a 10-mile radius of the White House, except at Andrews Field. 

i For examples, see : Uv Order, Hq, 2d Sve Crnd, 25 Mar 44, sub : Outline of duties, etc., 
in connection with handling of: prisoners of war on labor projects ; PW Memo 22, Hfl, 2d 
Svc Cmd, 1 Nor 44, sec. III. Both In PMGO 253,5 (2(1 Svc Cmd} P/W ; see also: Ltr, 
Brig Gen B. M. Bryan, APMG, to DCofS for Svc Cmds, ASP, 20 Apr 44, sub : Utilization 
of PW's in the Sixth Service Command. PMGO 253.5, Gen P/W #5 (2 Mar-29 Apr 44) ; 
Minuten, ASF Conference, Service Command Personnel Control Unita, 19-21 Mar 45, Fort 
Hayes, Columbus, Ohio. ASF Control Dlv. DEB, 'TAG ; Ninth Service Command Manual 
3-5, 1 Nov 44, sub : Organizations; Seventh Sorviee Command Publication 7110-2, 1 Oct 
44, sub : Organization and Functional Manual, Service Command Headquarters. Both in 
ASF Army "A's." DRB, TAG. 




Later, labor needs fashioned the criteria. Insofar as housing per- 
mitted, allocations were made in proportion to the total ASF operating 
personnel, military and civilian, authorized to each service command. 
The service command concerned controlled the local disposition and 
use of the PW's, except those of certain categories such as noncoopera- 
tives. 3 Usually the PW camps requisitioned PW labor by job and 
skill specification numbers and reported periodically any excess 
prisoners who had special skills. 3 

Late in 1944 the Ninth Service Command allocated the same per- 
centage of prisoners of war to all Class I, II, and IV installations— 
a step that led to confusion. The service command headquarters 
based its authorizations on the previous use made of PW's by certain 
installation commanders, but failed to inform other commanders of 
the basis for the authorization and on what specific jobs the PW's 
could be used. And, as the directive stood, the PW's could be trans- 
ferred anywhere and at any time that agricultural needs arose. Under 
these conditions, it was impossible to make effective employment plans. 

In January 1945 the commanding general, Ninth Service Command, 
corrected this situation by designating the types of work and by fixing 
responsibility. He divided all prisoners of war within the service 
command into three categories : 

Type IA— those assigned to Class III and IV installations for employment 

in essential military work for which the Army Air Forces or chief of 

technical service was responsible. 
Type IB — those assigned to Class I, II, or IV installations far military work 

for which the Ninth' Service Command was responsible. 
Type II — those assigned to agriculture or other contract projects. 
Type III— those available for useful, but not necessarily essential, military 


The director of personnel, together with the director of security and 
intelligence, determined the number of PW's to be allocated to Type 
IB work and reserved this group for distribution to cleain Class I, II, 
or IV installations. Simultaneously, other categories of military and 
civilian personnel were reduced proportionately, if the PW camp com- 
manders did not effecti vely use the authorized PW's on Type IB work. 
Bequests for additional PW's for this type work had to be justified 
as for any other personnel. 5 

The Personnel Control Unit of the Fourth Service Command was 
responsible for its PW distribution, basing this distribution on activity 

2 Memo, Brig Gen B. M. Bryan for DCofS for Svc Cmds, 17 May 44, sub: Allocation of 
Prisoners of War to Service Commands ; memo, FMGO for USW, 19 May 44, Both in 
PMGO 253.5 Gen P/W #5 (1 May-Si May 44). DRB, TAG:, 

"Minutes, ASF Conference, Service Command Personnel Control Units, 19-21 Mar 45, 
Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio, p. 255, ASF Control Div. DEB, TAG ; see also : PW Cir 54, 
16 Dec 44, eec. II. Copy in "Prisoner of War Operations," op. cit., vol. I of Tabs, 

* Minutes, ASP Conference, Service Command Personnel Control Units, 19-21 Mar 45, 
Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio, p. 228. ASF Control Div. DRB, TAG, 

G nia. 



reports submitted by Class 1 1 and II posts and by each, general and 
convalescent hospital. The repoi\t listed every activity or subactivity 
at the installation according to standard organization charts, the total 
number of American personnel engaged in each activity, the number 
of PW's used on the activity, and the number of additional prisoners 
needed. 8 

Some service commands assigned prisoners of war to companies, 
platoons, or sections according to the 1 J W work classification in order 
to avoid mixing personnel or splitting units. Others were assigned to 
individual jobs. On many military installations, the post or camp 
commander appointed a priority board or a Prisoner of War Action 
Committee to regulate the use of PW's by the many military agencies. 7 
The board or committee, which consisted of representatives of the 
using services and the PW camp commander, received and investi- 
gated requests for PW assignments to specific work tasks. The essen- 
tial nature of the work as well as the availability of the prisoners deter- 
mined the assignment. Thus the post commander was kept informed 
of all PW employment. On other posts, the PW camp commander 
allotted the prisoners to the technical services on a day-by-day basis 
rather than for long-sustained periods to avoid any possible tieups of 
the prisoners" during slack periods of work. 8 [For functions of a 
typical PW base camp, see chart 8.\ 

At the direction of the War Department, the technical-services and 
the service commands recommended specific types of essential work 
for the prisoners. of war to those responsible for the PW labor. PW 
camp commanders, together with works projects officers, continuously 
surveyed all employment possibilities in an effort to place the prisoners 
on the suggested work. 

The following list of permissible work projects is indicative of the 
scope of PW util ization on military installations by 1945 : 

Administrative clerks. Brick and stone masons. 

Agricultural pi*ojects. Butchers. 

Bakers. Canvas and cot repair. 

Blacksmiths. Care of animals. 

Barbers. Carpentry and repairs. 

"Ibid, pp, 222-25. 

T The FMG had advocated a direct line of responsibility from the service command head- 
quarters to the base PW camp commander and from him to the branch camp commander, 
independent of the district commander except for advice on security matters. See : Ltr, 
Brig Gen B. M. Bryan, APMG, to DCof'S for Sve Cmds, ASF, 20 Apr 44, sub : Utilization of 
prisoners of war in the Sixth Service Command. PMGO 253.5 Gen P/W #5 (2 Mar--20 Apr 
44). DRB, TAG; see also: Ltr, Hq, 4th Sve Cmd, to CO's, Class I and II posts, etc., 
7 Feb 45, sub: Utilization of Prisoners of War. PW File, 4th Service Command, Use of 
Prisoners of War, vol. VI (9 Nov 44-19 Feb 45 ) . DPRB, TAG, 

% Minutes, ASF Conference, Service Command Personnel Control Units, 19-21 Mar 45, 
Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio, pp. 222-25 ; "History of the TMGO, WWII," op. cit., pp. 

8 This consisted of work that would have had to be done even if PW labor were not 
available. See : Ltr, Hq, 8th Sve Cmd, 5 May 44, sub : Utilization of Prisoner 1 of War 
Labor. PMGO 253.5 Gen. P/W #5 (1 May-31 May 44). DRB, TAG. 



Clearing brush and other fire hazards. 

Clothing and equipment repair shops. 

Coal handling. 

Concrete block construction. 

Construction and repairs. 

Construction of athletic facilities. 

Cooks and cooks' helpers. 

Dam construction. 

Dental brace makers. 

Dental mechanics and helpers. 


Drainage control. 

Dry cleaning. 

Klectricians and helpers. 

Experimental QM work tests. 

Fire fighting. 

Flood control works and dams. 

Food processing. 


Firing boilers and water heaters. 

Forestry and reforestation. 

Fruit growing. 

Furnace and heater repairs. 

Furniture and cabinet makers. 

Garbage can cleaning plants. 


Grounds maintenance. 

Hospital orderlies and technicians. . 
Hospital ward service. 
Incinerator operator. 
Interpreters and clerks. 

Kitchen police for station units. 

Labor in post exchange warehouses. 

Laundry operations. 


Lumber sorting. 



Maintenance of grounds. 
Maintenance of runways and taxiways. 
Masonry work. 


Medical instrument repairs. 
Mosquito control. 

Motor repair shops, and parts reclama- 
tion shops. 

Office equipment repair. 

Operating wash and grease racks, ex- 
cept for weapon carriers. 

Packers and craters. 

Painters and decorators. 

Plumbers and helpers. 

Post police. 



Railroad maintenance. 
Repair work of all kinds. 
Road building. 
Road maintenance. 
Salvage and reclamation. 
Sanitary nils. 

Service station attendants. 
Sewage disposal plants. 
Sheet metal workers. 
Shoe repairing. 
Sign painters. 
Snow removal. 
Soil erosion control. 
Stable police. 

Storekeepers and stock clerks. 

Tailoring and pressing. 



Tractor operators. 

Truck drivers. 

Typewriter repair. 


Utility maintenance. 



Watch and clock repairing. 

Wood cutting. 

X-ray technicians and assistants. 1 " 

With the adoption of the Army reeducation program, certain se- 
lected German prisoners of war worked in special camps as transla- 
tors, editors, and counselors for the program. They edited a news- 
paper for distribution among the internment camps; reviewed films 
as to suitability for prisoner showings; offered a commentary on the 

in "promts on which Prisoners of War cilii be Employed." PMGO Policy Book IIII, 
POWO Div, r>gat Br. DRB, TAG ; "History of the PMGO, WWII," op. cit., p. 420 ; 
compilation from PMGO and other pertinent prisoner of war files. 

338293—55 11 



films when they were shown; translated pamphlets for distribution 
to the other prisoners of war ; and reviewed camp newspapers for det- 
rimental material. A similar program, but on a lesser scale, was also 
established for Italian and Japanese PWs. 11 

German and Noncooperative Italian Prisoners of War 

German and noncooperative Italian prisoners of war were used 
mainly on military installations, although some were hired out on 
contract work. When the Italian Service Units were formed and as- 
signed to work directly connected with the war effort, the German and 
noncooperative Italian PW's took their place, but they could not be 
used on any work that was directly connected with war operations. 

On arrival at the PW camps, these prisoners were assigned to labor 
companies commanded by an American officer and five TJ. S. enlisted 
men, each labor company consisting of 250 to 400 prisoners of- war. 
As the PW personnel became competent enough to assume the duties 
of the U. S. enlisted men, only one U. S. supply sergeant was retained. 
Job assignments within the PW labor companies adhered to the oc- 
cupational classification of the prisoners as much as possible. 12 

Russian Prisoners of War 

During the early stages of the war, before segregation was possible, 
thousands of German prisoners were brought to the United States for 
custody. Among these were found to he approximately 4,300 prisoners 
of war who later claimed Soviet citizenship. As soon as the presence 
of these persons became known, they were segregated from the other 
German PW's and sent to special camps for screening by Soviet rep- 
resentatives in the United States with a view to repatriation. At 
first, however, the Soviet Union disclaimed these prisoners ; hence, they 
were treated as ordinary prisoners of war. Later, Russia asked that 
they be treated as Soviet nationals. These persons were returned to 
the Soviet Union as rapidly as shipping was made available by Russian 
authorities. 13 

Japanese Prisoners of War 

Only 569 Japanese prisoners of war were interned in the United 
States during World War II. These were employed on work similar 
to that performed by the German and noncooperative Italian person- 
nel. Most of the Japanese PW's were former rice farmers and fisher- 
men and possessed few skills. For this reason and because of the 

11 For complete information on tho reeducation program, see: MS, Maj George E. 
McCraclton, "The Prisoner of War Eeeducation Program in the Years 1943-1946." 2-S.7, 
FB. OCMH, Gen Ref Off. 

12 "Prisoner of War Operations," op. ext., p. 60 ; PW Memo 1, I-Iq, 8th Sve Cmd, 22 Jim 
45. Copy in FMGO 253.5 Gen P/W #17 (Jun 45). DRB, TAG. 

13 U. S. Department of State Bui. No. 12, 1945, sub : "Announcement Concerning Soviet 
Allegations on Allied Prisoners of War," p. 864. 





hostility of the American public, they were eliminated from priority 
II work (contract labor) and were restricted to priority I work (work 
directly connected with military installations). When priority I 
work failed to keep the Japanese prisoners occupied, priority III work 
(nonessential work on military installations) was increased materially. 
J apanese prisoners of war repaired and rebuilt outpost and range roads, 
constructed fire lanes; cut pulp wood; and worked on soil erosion, 
stream conservation, and the salvage of materials for reuse, 3 ' 4 

To obtain the best work from the Japanese prisoners, American 
commanders learned early that they had to be given 10-minute rest pe- 
riods in the middle of the forenoon and afternoon. The Japanese fol- 
lowed instructions best when their own straw bosses (PW work super- 
visors) ^ transmitted the orders to them. They preferred to work to- 
gether in groups, and their output lagged when separated. As a whole, 
the Japanese were anxious to make a good impression, but became sul- 
len when urged on or hurried in their work. ls 

The "Administrative Pressure" Policy 

Steps were taken to allow PW camp commanders more leeway in 
disciplining prisoners of war, especially in compelling them to work. 
Before August 1943, The Provost Marshal General had experienced 
little difficulty with the few prisoners of war already interned ; con- 
sequently little attention was paid to disciplinary measures should they 
become necessary. With the rapid influx of PW's during the summer 
months, the War Department adopted a policy whereby the captured 
enemy would be subject to the same rules and regulations as American 
soldiers. As a result, before October 1943 the PW camp commander 
could only admonish, reprimand, or withhold the privileges of the 
prisoners of war (or restrict an officer PW) for failure either to work 
or to comply with regulations. These were mostly useless gestures. 
For more serious offenses, the camp commander was empowered, after 
three weeks' notice to the protecting power, to use a general court for 
PW officers; a special court for KCO's; and a summary court for 
privates. This policy resulted in many difficulties in attempting to 
impose effective disciplinary measures for minor infractions. Pris- 
oners of war, normally confined within a restricted area, had only a 
few privile ges and did not regard admonitions and restrictions in 

«John D. Milieu, The Organization and Hole of the Army Service Forces m THE 
UNITED STATES ARMS' IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1954), p. 105 ; memo, Capt 
V. Jri. Van Slyke, Jr., Ch, Provost and Prisoner of War Sec, to CufS, 6th Svc Cmd 21 Oct 
44, sub : Prisoner of War Work Projects at Camp McCoy ; 1st Ind, Hq, 9th Svc Cmd to CO 
Camp McCoy, 25 Oct 44 ; Itr, Maj Gen R. B. Reynolds to i,t Gen Bpchon Somervell 9 Jan 45 
All m Provost Marshal Br, Security & IntoII Div, 6th Svc Cmd, 253.5, Employment of 
Prisoners of War, vol. H. DPRB, TAG. 

rJr^ lmeratiVe W ° rk D ° ne by Pl ' lsoner s of War." PMGO 350 (Japanese) Program. 



the same light as did American soldiers. 16 Experience proved that 
the only effective disciplinary measures were those that affected the 
PW's food and pay. In October 1943, The Provost Marshal General's 
Office interpreted Article 27 of the Geneva Convention as permitting 
the detaining power to work prisoners of war and to use reasonable 
means to force them to comply with a work order. It, therefore, 
adopted an "administrative pressure" policy. "Administrative pres- 
sure" authorized the camp commander to withdraw certain privileges 
from and to impose a restricted diet on those PW's who refused to obey 
a lawful order, including a work order. The theory behind this policy 
was that it was not punishment for any act but was merely an induce- 
ment to make the PW's comply with a lawful order or regulation. It 
was not imposed for a definite period but only as long as the PW's 
refused to obey a proper command. The PW's could therefore termi- 
nate the pressure simply by complying with the order that they had 

In applying the "no work, no eat" policy, camp commanders did 
not consider compliance had been obtained until the PW's actually 
engaged in the required work. If a strike disrupted the normal work 
program to the extent that it was impractical to resume work imme- 
diately, restrictions on their diet continued for TS hours or until work 
was resumed, whichever period was shorter. If a PW refused to 
work, the PW camp commander immediately ordered him on a re- 
stricted diet of not less than 18 ounces of bread a day and all the water 
he desired, and this continued until he was willing to work. There 
was no time limit on the restricted diet period and it could be con- 
tinued indefinitely provided medical inspections warranted the con- 
tinuation. Thus the PW could be given a full meal or a day's ration 
or more and then placed again on the restricted diet, provided the 
conditions which warranted its imposition continued to exist. But 
this could be done only under the administrative, pressure policy. 17 

PW camp commanders could also withhold pay and allowances due 
a prisoner of war during the period of administrative pressure. 
Labor pay due for work already completed could be withheld as well 
as $2 of the $3 monthly gratuitous allowance. The other $1 a month 
had to be paid, even during administrative pressure periods, to allow 
the PW to purchase certain necessities. 18 

In a practical sense, administrative pressure by verbal reprimands, 
the withholding of privileges, or the imposition of other restrictions 

10 Minutes, ASF Service Conference, 27-20 Jul 44, Fort Leonard Wood Mo pp 148-49 
GESj Reference Collection. DEB, TAG. 

1T Ibid. ; ltr, WD to CG's, all Svc Cmds, 2.7 Oct 43, sub : Admin & Disciplinary Measures. 
Cited in "Prisoner of War Operations," op. oit:, vol II of Tabs; "History of the PMGO 
WWII," op. oit., pp. 457-58 ; sec also : AR 600-375, 6 .Tan 48 par 32 

1E TM 10-500, par. 59. 

152 History of prisoner of war utilization 

proved to be inadequate. They were rarely used except with the 
restricted diet or with the withholding of pay and allowances. Since 
administrative pressure was only a persuasive measure and not a 
punishment for past actions, its extent could not be determined in 
advance, but remained of indefinite duration. 

Prisoners of war were also disciplined in other ways. The non- 
workers and the recalcitrant, along with those mentally incompetent, 
were segregated and transferred to separate camps or compounds 
where they worked for their own self-maintenance. The system of 
courts-martial was also liberalized. The Judge Advocate General 
ruled that a summary court was not a judicial court within the mean- 
ing of the Geneva Convention and therefore could be held without 
notifying the protecting power. He also ruled that a summary court 
was a disciplinary punishment as used by Articles 54 and 59 of the 
Geneva Convention and could apply to PW officers and noncommis- 
sioned officers as well as to PW privates. Restricted diet could be 
given as an additional punishment by the summary court, and the 
PWs could be given 30 days confinement without right of appeal or 
further tri al. If the PW was unruly, he could also be placed on bread 
and water for 14 of his 30 days confinement. 10 [See chart 9.~] 

Prisoner of War Training 

As early as 1943, the service commands had begun training and 
instructional programs for all prisoners of war, other than members 
of ISU's. Experienced PWs and U. S. interpreters were used as 
instructors, and the trades in demand were taught through the" use 
of illustrated charts and translated field manuals. Other PW's were 
trained by rotation on the job. This proved unfeasible, however, as 
an experienced group could not be developed ; consequently, in most 
cases, production was subordinated to PW training. 20 Schools were 
established to train the prisoners in laundry work, cooking, clothing 
and shoe repairing, and in other trades. After being trained, the 
PW's were transferred to. camps to replace civilian laborers or to fill 


Each post commander appointed a senior PW work supervisor for 
each group or shift of prisoners and through him maintained contact 

™ Minutes, ASF Service Command Conference, 27-29 Jul 44, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., 
p. 149. GRS, Reference Collection. DRB, TAG ; see also : TM 19-500, par. 60<i and e. 

^ Ltr, AG, Stli Sve Cmd, to CO's, all Posts, Camps, and Stations, 8th Sve Cmd, 1 Oct 43, 
sub : Plan for Employment of Prisoners of War on Class II Labor at Posts, Camps, and 
Stations, ICightli Service Command, ASF Misc PW's, Various Service Commands, Labor 
and Employment (Misc. Folder) (S) ; ltr, Hq, 7th Sve Crad, to CO's, Prisoner of War 
Camps, 7th Sve Cmd, 27 Dec 43, sub: Prisoner of War Labor PMGO 253 5 Gen P/W 
(1943). DEB, TAG. 




with the prisoners of war. Subordinate PW work supervisors, in 
the ratio of 1 to 10, also assisted the senior PW supervisor in carrying 
out a work project, 21 

Many German PW work supervisors, although pretending to be 
cooperative, actually organized work stoppages and slowdowns or 
staged other acts of discontent and violence. Most of these offenders 
were noncommissioned officers, thoroughly indoctrinated with the Nazi 
ideology and its theory of discipline. In some instances, threats of 
''kangaroo courts," violence, and family reprisals caused the PW's to 
fear these supervisors more than they respected the orders of the 
American PW camp commander. To correct the situation, PW camp 
commanders replaced all undesirable PW supervisors with capable 
cooperative PW administrative personnel, regardless of rank. 22 

Maximum prisoner of war effort was obtained only by competent 
American supervision. . (PW's were quick to spot those who were 
not qualified for the job to be performed.) To accomplish this Amer- 
ican male civilian supervisors and instructors were provided, where 
necessary, in such ratio as the local available labor supply would 
permit. 23 In some early cases, PW camp commanders attempted to 
have guards act as supervisors, but this was quickly discouraged when 
the PW labor output lagged. As the war progressed in the Allies' 
favor, civilian supervisors were often the lone overseers of a PW 
work project. 


Initially, PW camp commanders inclosed laundries, dry-cleaning 
establishments, and other facilities on military installations, with 
barbed wire to prevent escape; when security restrictions were later 
relaxed, they largely dispensed with such measures. On the job, PW's 
were separated from civilian employees for a two-fold reason: to 
prevent fraternization, and to produce maximum efficiency from the 
prisoners. In laundry operations, especially shirt ironing, PW's dis- 
liked the operation when required to work in the presence of civilian 
female workers; but during a shift when PW's were used almost 
exclusively, the dislike lessened and production increased. PW em- 
ployers also restricted prisoners of war to a definite route going to 
and from water fountains and latrines. Guards inspected the water 

"Ltr, AG, 8th gvc Cmd, to CO's, all Posts, Camps, and Stations, 8th Sve Cmcl, 1 Oct 43, 
sub : Plan for Employment of Prisoners of War on Class II Labor, at Posts, Camps, and 
Stations, Eighth Service Command. ASF Misc PW's, Various Service Commands, Labor 
and Employment (Misc. Polder) (S). DEB, TAG. 

ia Ltr, AG, ASP, to all Svc Cmds, 24 Mar 44, sub: Gorman Prisoners of War Spoils- 
men and Supervisors. Copy in "Prisoner of War Operations," op. tit., vol, II of Tabs. 

** To aid the supervisors, the WD published ASF Manual M-811, "Handbook for Work 
Supervisors of Prisoner of War li&]ior," 








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closets on schedule to prevent undue loitering or damage to the build- 
ing or fixtures. 24 

Work Procedures 

The measured task system was also an effective measure in obtain- 
ing maximum work from prisoners of war. Generally, PW's worked 
the same hours as similar U. S. personnel, although they could be 
required to work 12 hours a day including transportation time. Su- 
pervisors saw that the PW's performed a full task and worked the 
full time required. No undue loitering, unauthorized or extended 
rest periods, or other forms of wasted time were allowed. 2r> 

Compensation for Injuries 

A prisoner of war hospitalized in the line of duty on assigned work 
was paid at the rate of 40 cents a day, subject to the following limi- 
tations : (a) no payment was made for the first three days of disability 
or for Sundays; (b) no payment was made if the injury was caused 
by the PW's willful misconduct, by his intention to cause injury or 
death to himself or to others, or by his voluntary intoxication; (c) 
compensation for the injury was terminated when the PW was able 
to work, or was repatriated, or died. 26 - 

Use of Prisoners of War Officers and Noncommissioned Officers 

PW camp commanders, in an attempt to obtain maximum effort 
from the prisoners, permitted PW officers and noncoms to volunteer 
for work. Early in the internment program, PW camp commanders 
carefully considered the use of ranking prisoners as spokesmen and 
leaders and in other subadministrative work in the enlisted prisoners' 
compounds. Those who volunteered for this work were paid at the 
usual rate. When some officer volunteers refused pay for their labor, 
they were required to sign a statement to that effect. 37 If the PW 
officer refused to sign, the camp commander noted in the individual's 
record that work was requested and was assigned, but that the prisoner 
refused compensation. 28 

In 1944 prisoner of war NCO's were permitted to volunteer for any 
nonsiapervisory labor for which they had special mechanical skills or 

« "History of the PMGO, WWII," op. tit., p. 428 ; Itr, AG, 8th Svc Cmd, to CO'S, all 
Posts, Camps, and Stations, 8th Svc Cmd, 1 Oct 43, sub : Plan for Employment of Prisoners 
of War on Class II Labor at Posts, Camps, and Stations, Eighth Service Command. ASF 
Misc PW's, Various Service Commands, Labor and Employment. (Misc. Folder) (S). 

25 Minutes, ASP Conference, Service Command Personnel Control Units, 19-21 Mar 45, 
Fort Hayes, Ohio, p. 221. ASF Control Div. DRB, TAG.. 

a>PW Cir 37, 12 Jul 44, sub: Compensation for Injured Prisoners. OCS 383.6, sec. V, 
cases 200-270 (S). DRB, TAG. 

27 Tie signed statement released the United States from any future claims for compen- 
sation that might be presented later by the individual or by the country he served. 

28 PW Cir 1, Hq, 7th Svc Cmd, 10 Apr 44. PMGO Policy Book IIII, POWO Div, Legal 
Br. DEB, TAG. 



aptitudes. This volunteer work was limited to a minimum of 30 days 
and a maximum of 90 days, and, if undertaken, the volunteer had to 
work the entire period. 29 By 1945 labor demands were at the peak and 
the PW's could volunteer for any job for the duration of their cap- 
tivity provided they waived their rights to supervisory work. A signed 
statement to this effect was placed in their 201 files. 30 

When American authorities discovered that many German prisoners 
of war could not substantiate their NCO status with official German 
documents j they were treated as PW privates and as such were re- 
quired to perform unrestricted labor. This resulted in approximately 
40,000 more PW's being made available for general labor. 31 

Noncooperative enemy NCO's were segregated from the other pris- 
oners of war and were used to replace able-bodied enemy privates in 
performing services at camps housing enemy officers. This work was 
without pay. 33 However, any enemy 1STCO could be reinstated to re- 
munerative work at any time subsequent to three months after his date 
of segregation, provided the PW camp commander and the service 
command commander approved. 

Types of Paid and Unpaid Work 

By January 1944, paid work connected with the administration, 
management, and maintenance of PW labor camps had to meet the 
following conditions: (1) The work had to require special training 
and qualifications on the part of the PW's ; (2) the prisoner had to be 
employed full time on the work, thereby being prevented from doing 
other paid labor; and (3) the number of PW's for any particular type 
of paid work could not exceed the number allowed by any directive, 
present or future, which governed the organization of PW labor 
camps or companies. 33 Certain housekeeping jobs which represented 
only irregular or occasional work were cited as typical unpaid labor. 
Clerks, cooks' helpers, tailors, cobblers, and barbers were among those 

Experience demonstrated the need for a paid PW cadre for such 
skilled work within the PW compounds as cooks, interpreters, com- 

28 PW Cir If), 4 Apr 44, as amended by PW Cir 26, 1 May 44, sec, I, Copies in "Prisoner 
of War Operations," op. cit., vol. I of Tabs. 

=°TM 19-500, par 4c, pp. 5.1-5.2 ; ]tr, 3S91 SCU Prisoner of War Camp, QM sub-depot, 
to CG, 9th Svc Cmd, 17 Jul 45, sub : Report of Volunteer Prisoners of War, Non-Com- 
missioned Officers. PMGO 253.5 Gen. P/W #19 (Jnl 43). DEB, TAG. 

3i It was later proved tbat many German 'privates bad been promoted just prior to their 
capture to Insure preferential treatment. See: Memo, Col C. S. Urwiller, PW Opus Div, 
for Dir, PW Opus Div, PMGO, 16 Jul 45. PMGO 253.5, Gen. P/W #17 (Jun 45). DEB, 

3 " This requirement was compatible with the provisions of A rts. 22, 27, and 34 of the 1929 
Geneva PW Convention. See : Ltr, Brig Gen B. M. Bryan, APMG, to CG, 8th Svc Cmd, 
29 May 45, sub r Personnel to Provide Service in Prisoner of War Officer Camps. PMGO 
253.5, Gen. P/W #16 (May 45). DRB, TAG. 

» PW Cir 9, 27 Jan 44, sec. I ; TM 19-500, p. 5.9. Copies in "Prisoner of War Opera- 
tions," op. ctt., vol, I of Tabs. 



pany leaders, clerks, typists, stenographers, bookkeepers, accountants, 
warehouse supply clerks, warehousemen, carpenters, plumbers, elec- 
tricians, and mechanics. Formerly, the PW's were rotated on these 
jobs so that everyone would have a chance to earn an equal wage. The 
permanent cadre resulted in a more efficient camp administration, 
overall savings, and an economical distribution of manpower. 

On PW work projects, both for the military and for civilian con- 
tractors, PW officer or NCO volunteers worked as paid interpreters and 
work detail leaders. They were furnished by the PW camp com- 
mander in excess of the number contracted and were considered as 
working for the benefit of the other PW's and in the interest of the 
United States. Since they did not work directly for the contractor, he 
did not pay for their services. 34 The civilian supervisors were sup- 
plied by the contractor. 

Within the camp, the working PW's were denied access to classi- 
fied information and to the files of both the prisoners of war and 
members of the armed forces. They could not use the telephone except 
in connection with the internal administration of the stockade or to 
convey official messages to American personnel. 

In most PW camps, prisoners of war also staffed the attached IT. S. 
enlisted and officers' messes under minimum supervision. 35 In iso- 
lated areas where PW camps were authorized a bakery, qualified pris- 
oners did the baking. The employment of prisoners of war in army 
messes made an important contribution to the war effort. From 1 
June to 31 December 1944, prisoners of war performed 1,639,271 man- 
days of labor in connection with the handling of food for American 
military personnel. 38 In December 1944, however, a problem arose 
which threatened to curtail the work. The Director of Intelligence, 
ASF, warned the service commands that certain PW's were forming 
"hara-kiari" (uicide) clubs on some military installations with the 
purpose of committing mass murder and .sabotage, 37 Some camp com- 
manders immediately withdrew the PW's from the messes. By 
stressing the importance of PW labor and the remote possibility of 
sabotage, The Provost Marshal General successfully persuaded those 
concerned to reinstate the prisoners on the work. 38 

Orderlies were assigned to PW officers on a paid basis in the ratio of 
one per general officer, one per six field grade officers, and one per 

M Ltr, TAG to CG's, all Sve Cmds, 24 Aug 43, sub : Employment of Prisoners of War off 
Reservations. Copy in ibid., vol. II of Tabs. 

32 See: "Reference Manual on Prisoner of War Operations," op. cit.; "Prisoner of War 
Operations," op. cit., p. 60. 

™ Memo, PMGO, ASF, J'or CG, ASF,. 7 Feb 45. PMGO 253.5 Gen. P/W #3 (thru Mar 45). 

37 In attempting- this, the PW's knew they would be put to death if apprehended, hence 
the name. 

38 Memo, PMGO, ASF, for CG, ASF, Feb. 45. PMGO 253.5 Gen, P/W #3 (thru Mar 45). 



twelve company grade officers. Only those incapable of performing 
a full day's work were assigned. 

The normal administrative duties of a PW camp could not be paid 
for from government funds, accumulated surplus canteen profits, or 
from PW funds. Therefore, the daily fatigue details within the 
PW compound and about the grounds surrounding the quarters of 
the attached American personnel were performed by PW privates and 
XCO's. Other unpaid P W's maintained and repaired barracks, walks, 
sewers, and fences within the PW camp area. To accomplish this 
work, PW camp commanders, by the use of a company roster, rotated 
the prisoners on the jobs. Camp commanders could select certain 
PW's for administrative details within the compound even though 
paid work was available elsewhere. But if the outside work had 
priority, the PW camp commander could assign the camp details to 
other prisoners less qualified. In this case, all the PW's on paid work 
contributed canteen coupons toward the wages of those detailed to the 
administrative duties. ' The camp commander collected the coupons 
and paid those on detail the standard rate of 80 cents a day for their 
labor. In this way all the prisoners benefited. - ^ 

Many prisoners performed volunteer work without pay. Some en- 
gaged in part-time teaching; others engaged in entertaining or in 
activities connected with recreational or welfare projects. Some built 
furniture for the recreation rooms; others built and decorated the 
chapels. Others constructed and tended the athletic fields; and still 
others planted flower gardens to decorate the grounds of the PW 
camps. 40 

Protected Personnel 

The War Department confined all captured protected personnel in 
PW camps, but in separate compounds from the other prisoners of 
war. While awaiting exchange, the protected personnel attended to 
sick and wounded PW's and ministered to their spiritual needs. In 
addition to their pay and allowances, they were paid 80 cents a day 
for their labor." Protected personnel skilled or experienced as phy- 
sicians, surgeons, dentists, X-ray j pharmaceutical, or other laboratory 
technicians replaced U. S. medical personnel and prisoners of war 
for duty elsewhere. This was done after proper screening and se- 
curity checks. 

Very few bona fide chaplains were among the PW's captured by 
allied forces. Some members of special police organizations were 

39 TM J 9-500, pp. 5.14-5.15. 

40 "Reference Manual on Prisoner of War Administration," op. ext., pp. 135-38. 

** Art. 13, Geneva Red Cross Convention of 1920, stated that protected personnel would 
receive pay and allowances equal to that received by those of corresponding rank in tlie 
armies of the captor. See : "Prisoner of War Operations," op. oit., p. 232 ; and PW Or 9, 
27 Jan 44, pp. 3-4. Latter in "Prisoner of War Operations," op. oit., vol. I of Tabs ; 
see also : TM 19-500, p. C.3. 



disguised as chaplains and could not be used ; others, who were minis- 
ters but who lacked the necessary identifying documents, were used 
as chaplains but were treated as. prisoners of war. As such they were 
not entitled to the extra privileges accorded protected personnel. 
They did receive 80 cents a day for their labor from accumulated 
canteen profits.* 2 

Other protected personnel did the necessary work connected with 
their compounds and served as cooks and orderlies for officer pro- 
tected personnel. Payment for this labor was governed by the same 
directives that applied to prisoners of war. 

Canteen Work 

PW canteens were operated as far as possible with PW labor. The 
prisoners were supplied to the canteen on a contract basis, and the 
canteen paid the U. S. Treasury 80 cents a day per prisoner. The 
War Department, in turn, paid the PW's. Although the canteen was 
a government agency, it was not operated entirely with appropriated 
funds and the profits did not accrue to the Treasury. Instead, and in 
accordance with Article 12 of the Geneva Convention, they accrued 
for the benefit of the prisoners of war. 43 PW's were also employed 
by canteen-operated barber shops and hobby shops on a contract 
basis, but work in the hobby shops was not allowed to interfere with 
employment on essential labor. No War Manpower Commission cer- 
tification was needed for canteens. 

Educational and Recreational Work 

The War Department encouraged the PW's to organize formal 
study courses and allowed them to select a director of studies from 
their group to organize and promote educational and recreational 
activities. 44 The PW's also selected qualified teachers and instruc- 
tors who were given sufficient free time to carry out their educational 
work. These were paid the standard rate for their educational duties 
when the work excluded them from other paid labor. The expenses 
of the educational program, including the pay of the director and 
teachers, came from the.PW fund of the camp served. 

Prisoner of war camps in the United States were supplied with 
motion picture programs for morale and reorientation purposes. 
Experienced or trained PW's who were considered canteen employees 
were used as projectionists or as film technicians. Their pay came 

43 PW Cir 46, 13 Oct 44. Copy in "Prisoner of War Operations," op. cit., vol. I of Tabs ; 
see also: Ibid., pp. 90, 91, 231 [text] ; and Geneva Prisoner of War Convention, 1929, 
Arts. 12 and 16. 

43 PW Cir 33, 12 Jun 44 ; PW Cir 42, 24 Aug 44 ; PW Cir 50, 18 Nov 44 ; TM 19-500, 
p. 5.14, Copies in "Prisoner of War Operations," op. cit. f vol. I of Tabs. 

"Art, 17, Geneva PW Convention, requires "So far as possible belligerents shall en- 
courage intellectual diversions and sports organized by prisoners of war." 



from admission receipts paid by the PW audience. In effect, the 
prisoners directly paid the operators for their services. 

Prisoner of War Postal Units 

Not all labor for the prisoners benefit was successful, especially that 
connected with the redirecting and forwarding of prisoner mail. In 
March 1944, two prisoner of war postal units were established to relieve 
a' serious backlog of undelivered PW mail held by the New York 
District Postal Censor. This was done in cooperation with the Office 
of Censorship. 

An Italian postal unit, manned by Italian service unit personnel, 
was established at Fort George G. Meade, Md., where it operated until 
October 1945. Noncooperative German noncommissioned officers, 
under the supervision of 2 American officers and 10 enlisted men, oper- 
ated a German postal unit at Camp Hearne, Tex. Noncommissioned 
officers were used because the work was of an administrative nature, 
and, therefore, they could be used; and German PW privates were 
to be used elsewhere. 

Although the backlog of mail was eliminated, trouble resulted. 
The noncooperative Germans used the mails to maintain an intelli- 
gence system directed against cooperative' prisoners of war in the 
United States. They obtained censorship-identified covers v for reuse; 
they observed the routing and mail delivery system as well as the 
camp censorship and postal markings; they checked the prisoners' 
names through rosters; they manufactured unauthorized censorship 
and postmark stamps; and they removed the U. S. examiners' label 
tape for their own use. In addition, they knew the significance of 
the camps at Port Devens, Mass., and Camp Campbell, Ky., where 
anti-Nazi prisoners were kept, and they gained access to the camp 
rosters. It became necessary to discontinue the German unit at Camp 
Hearne and to transfer its activity to Fort Meade where Italian Service 
Unit personnel were used until their repatriation. Cooperative 
German prisoners of war then relieved the Italian personnel. 45 

The Farm Program on Military Installations 

An increasing number of prisoners of war arrived in the United 
States at a time when the country was faced with a growing shortage 
of civilian agricultural workers. Consequently, the American public 
felt that these prisoners should raise as much of their own food as 
possible, thereby reducing the burden of their support. This feeling 
was reflected in War Department policy. In September 1943, shortly 
after the arrival of the first large group of PW's, the War Department 
directed that the prisoners be "encouraged" to raise their own. vege- 
tables. If their labor improved the ground under cultivation, thereby 

48 "Prisoner of War Operations," op. tit., pp. 156-58 [text]. 



Figure 5, Prisoners of war engaged in farm work at Fort McOlellan, Ala. 

increasing its value to the United States, they would be paid. Other- 
wise they would not.* w In January 1944, this policy was modified. 
FW's were required to raise their own vegetables and were paid for 
their labor. 

The produce of the camp gardens was used by the PWs and by 
personnel of the armed, forces. When it was used exclusively by the 
prisoners, their quartermaster ration was reduced proportionately. 
The quartermaster service supplied the necessary seeds, fertilizers, and 
hand tools, and if these were not available the quartermaster furnished 
funds for their local purchase. Where immediate action was required, 
PW camp commanders could purchase needed supplies with the camps' 
PW fund. 

In 1945, the Ogden, Utah, PW camp used only Italians of Slavic 
descent on paid work in their garden. These .FW's were antagonistic 
to the native Italians and to the Italian Fascist government. Thus 
productive labor was secured and an effective segregation was accom- 
plished. All produce was turned over to the local quartermaster depot 
for distribution among the military installations. 

The same camp engaged in a novel unpaid work program. An 
owner of a nearby orchard invited the PW camp commander to har- 
vest all fallen apricot fruit for military consumption. PWs unable 
or unwilling to do regular work gathered the fruit and took it to the 
camp where it was cleaned, sun-dried on simple prisoner-constructed 

** PW Cir 1, 24 Sep -13. Copy in ibid., vol, I of Tabs. 



racks, treated with sulphur, and packaged. The finished product was 
turned over to the quartermaster warehouse for local military use. 47 
The farm program proved effective in all camps. During the spring 
and summer of 1944, PW's at Camp Ellis, 111., harvested garden 
produce valued at $1.3,000. PW's at Camp Atterbury, Ind., grew 
vegetables valued at $8,384.79 and other crops estimated at $5,000. • 
The prisoner of war farm at Camp Campbell, Ky., yielded $9,441.41 
in produce. PW's at other camps raised similar valuable crops/ 8 

The Interservlce Use of Prisoners of War 
Army Air Forces 

In 1943 both the Army Air Forces and the Navy objected to the use 
of prisoners of war, but by 1944 the manpower shortage forced them 
to change their stand. The AAF overcame its fear of sabotage and 
requested the use of any prisoners of war. PW camps were estab- 
lished on Air Forces installations on request, but operational control 
of the camps was retained by the service command in which the 
Air Force installations wer.e located. 49 


Because of increasing demands for manpower by the military 
services, together with the physical requirements of heavy work which 
negated the use of women, the Navy Department removed its restric- 
tions on PW employment at naval installations, and on 15 May 1944 
the War Department approved the Navy's request for use of PW labor. 

At the request of the naval installation, the service command in 
which the work was located furnished the PW's when they were avail- 
able. Administrative control, including the right of work inspection, 
was retained by the service command, but the Navy controlled the 
PW's during periods of actual employment. Although the naval 
installation furnished the housing and fed the PW's, the War Depart- 
ment paid the enemy personnel. If a PW camp was located on a 
naval installation, the service command provided the necessary over- 
head personnel, and the Navy provided the guards for work details. 
The Army officer in charge of the camp conformed to local naval 
regulations applicable to the PW camp ; but internal administration, 
including court-martial jurisdiction and other disciplinary action, 
remained with the PW camp commander. Liaison was maintained 
between the service command headquarters and the naval establish- 

1-1 Interview, Lt Col B. I. Lawrence by Lt Col Goo. Lewis. Author's file. 

48 Hit Ept 1902, 78th Cong., 2d sess., "Investigation of the National Wai' Effort, Report 
on Military Affairs," 31 Nov 44, pp.' 11, 12, 15, 19. 

"Ltr, CG, ASF, to CG, 4th Svc Cmd, 9 Apr 45, sub: Prisoners of War Housed at Air 
Force Stations. PMGO 253.5, Gen. P/W #13 (Apr 45). DR&, TAG. 

3382S3— 55- -12 



The work performed by prisoners of war on naval installations 
was similar to that performed on Army installations, and was gov- 
erned by existing War Department and service command regulations. 
Memorandum agreements, signed by appropriate contracting officers, 
formed the basis of the work details furnished to the naval activity 
and stated the conditions of employment, such as, nature of the work, 
number of prisoners needed, the approximate period of employment, 
and the working hours of the prisoners. 50 

The Technical Services 

Prisoners of war were first used in technical service depot opera- 
tions in late 1942 at the Ogden Army Service Forces Depot, Ogden, 
Utah. When Italy surrendered, many volunteer Italian PW's were 
formed into Italian service units at the depot, and several units were 
retained to do both skilled and unskilled work. Later, German PW's 
replaced the Italian service units. The use of prisoners of war at base 
depots at this time was the exception rather than the general rule as 
many of the services were reluctant to use them for fear of sabotage. 
Gradually this reluctancy disappeared and PW's were used efficiently 
at all technical service installations. The use of PW labor by the 
technical services can best be illustrated by their use in fourth and 
fifth echelon shops. In February 1944, only 7,132 PW's were em- 
ployed, but by July 1945, this had increased over 300 percent to 21,418 
employed. 51 

In March 1944, Army Service Forces suggested a minimum use of 
units of 1,000 PW's each at technical service depots. Since this esti- 
mate was too large and was impractical for full employment, the 
groups were scaled to 200 or 300 each. The service command in which 
the activity was located furnished the PW's and the technical service 
supervised and established the PW work operations. 52 To guide the 
service commands in the use of PW's on technical service activities on 
military installations, the chiefs of the technical services furnished 
proposed guides listing certain jobs. [See chart 10 for the jobs ac- 
tually performed.] 

The Effectiveness of Prisoner of War Labor at Military Installations 

The relative work efficiency of civilian workers and prisoners of 
war varied because of widely different conditions under which each 
type of labor lived and was employed. In comparing the PW with 

™ See : ASF Cir 304, 14 Sep 44, pt. II. Copy in "Prisoner of War Operations," op oit 
vol. II of Tabs. 

61 ASF Monthly Progress Epts, sec. 13. 

sa ASF Cir 73, 11 Mar 44, sub : Use of Prisoners of War in Maintenance Work, See. VI. 
PMGO 253.5 Gen. P/W#12 (1 Mar-31 Mar 45) ; Itr, Col Edward Reynolds, Ch, Supply 
Svc, SOS, to PMG, 8 May 44, sub : Prisoners of War. PMGO VIII Svc Cmd : 'Correspond- 
ence Transcripts. DRB, TAG. 



the average unskilled civilian laborer, camp commanders stated that 
the average PW was at least equal to or of greater value than the civil- 
ian. In depot operations and other work, the value of PW labor was 
attested to in the following statements : 

Mag. Gen. Homer M. Groninger, Commanding General, New York 
Port of Embarkation, stated that the performance of Italian service 
units "... has assisted in relieving a critical manpower shortage 
and has assisted in the continuance of an unbroken life of efficient op- 
erations at this port." The commanding officer of the Boston Quarter- 
master Depot said the performance of prisoner labor was "more than 
satisfactory." The commanding officer of the Seattle Army Service 
Forces Depot stated : "The Quartermaster section would not be able 
to perform its overseas supply mission if it were not for the additional 
labor obtained from the assignment of Italian Service Units here. On 
a number of occasions they have willingly and cheerfully stayed extra 
hours to get urgent work done." This attitude was again reflected in 
a statement made by the commanding officer of the Sioux Ordnance 
Depot : "These men have done excellent work at the depot in the past 
and have worked much overtime on a voluntary basis when the load 
was heavy. Without them, it would have been impossible for the 
depot to have performed its mission due to the shortage of civilian 
personnel in this community." 53 Although these statements mention 
Italian service units, other prisoners of war worked at the same instal- 
lations and were equally as efficient. 54 

Other Federal Agencies 

Early War Department policies provided for the use of prisoners 
of war by Federal agencies, but as the employment program developed 
such use was limited in scope. Funds were not appropriated to Fed- 
eral agencies to pay for this labor. 

By December 1943, free labor was scarce in many sections of the 
United States, particularly in the West. To relieve the situation, 
Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes proposed using PW labor 
on projects of national importance located on lands under the juris- 
diction of the Department of the Interior. The Grazing Service 
could use the PW's to construct access roads to strategic mineral de- 
posits on public lands, and the Bureau of Keclamation wanted to use 
them to construct irrigation and reclamation facilities. 

« WD Press Release, 26 Mar 45, sub : Italian Service Units First Complete Year. ASF 
Control Div, Management Br, Italian Service Units, Fiscal Year 1945 DEB TAG • see 
also : Ltr, Sioux Orel. Depot, to Ch of Orel, ASF, 20 Jim 45, sub : Prisoners of War- 
Proposed Program for full Utilization. PMGO 253.5 Gen. P/W (Jun 45). DRB TAG 

™^rl : " Prls<,ner of War Operations," op. cit., pp. 115, 119 ; "History of the PMGO, 
WWII, op, cit. 3 p. 427. 






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Mr. Ickes questioned the propriety of paying the PWs at the then 
established prevailing free labor rate and stated that there was 
". . . little or no difference between the work of the Corps of the. 
Engineers engaged in construction of levees . . . for flood control and 
the work of the Bureau of Reclamation engaged in the construction 
of canals . . . for irrigation purposes. Both agencies in peacetime 
would employ free labor at prevailing rates of pay." 35 Mr. Ickes 
proposed that all PWs employed on projects of national importance, 
whether for the War Department or for other Federal agencies, and 
for which the War Manpower Commission would issue a certificate of 
nonavailability of free labor, be paid the same wage rate. 

The Secretary of War agreed to this, but stated that the War De- 
partment would have to be reimbursed if it furnished the prisoners' 
daily compensation, subsistence, and transportation. In addition, 
the War Department was to pass upon each proposed project on the 
basis of the special facts applicable to the case. The Secretary of 
War also stipulated that all PWs assigned to government-sponsored 
projects under this policy would be subject to withdrawal any time 
the War Department needed then), or if any project certified by the 
War Manpower Commission had greater importance. 36 

The War Manpower Commission, upon being consulted, concurred 
with, this policy, but further suggested that permission to purchase 
critical materials for the projects first be obtained from the War Pro- 
duction Board. Thus, a government agency sponsoring a construction 
project had to obtain the approval of the Facilities Committee of tha 
War Production Board before the War Manpower Commission would 
approve the use of prisoners of war. 57 

The Department of the Interior, upon being informed of the new 
policy, abandoned any further plans to use prisoners of war and used 
conscientious objectors instead. The Department had no available 
funds to cover the costs of the PW labor (and Congress refused any 
further appropriations), and conscientious objectors were maintained 
from funds supplied by the Selective Service Act. The Interior De- 
partment employed just four prisoners of war in a fish hatchery in the 
southwestern part of the United States. 58 

Other governmental agencies used only a small number of prisoners 
of war, although the Timber Production War Project of the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture trained approximately 30,000 PW's in woodcut- 

EE Ltr, Harold L. Ickes to SW, 9 Dec 43, G-l 383.6 Labor (17 Dec 43), "By Other 
Agencies of the Federal Government." DEB, TAG. 
53 Ltr, SW to Sec of Interior, 22 Dec 43. IMd, 

OT The Facilities Committee ruled on all irrigation, reclamation, and other similar con- 
struction projects, gee : Ltr, Paul V. McNutt, Ohm, WMC, to SW, 7 Jan 44. lUd. 

63 Interview, John F. Shanklin, Ch, Land Use Management, Div of Land Utilization, Off, 
Sec of Interior, 6 Jan 53. Author's file. During WWII, Mr. Shanklin was Liaison Officer 
with the Office of Land Utilization which handled all prisoner of war affairs. 



ting and other forestry work. These were later employed by private 
employers. 69 

In securing PW's for labor the agencies followed a procedure sim- 
ilar to that used by private employers. They applied to the local office 
of the United States Employment Service who certified or disapproved 
the request by the authority of the War Manpower Commission. The 
Employment Service forwarded the request, if approved, to the near- 
est service command headquarters. Whenever the work project was 
within daily trucking distance of a PW camp, the service command 
headquarters forwarded the certificate to the camp where the camp 
commander, upon application of the, employer, negotiated the con- 
tract. When the project was beyond the normal trucking distance, the 
contract was negotiated by the service command headquarters. , Provi- 
sions for the required housing was included in this contract, and it was 
then forwarded to a PW camp for execution. 60 The War Department 
invoiced Federal agencies who contracted for PW labor at the rate of 
10 cents a day per man for housing, and 5 cents a day per man for util- 
ities. The labor charge, of 80 cents a day per man was additional. 
These charges were made for each man-day of work performed by the 
PW's for the using agencies. 61 

War and Navy Department agencies that used PW labor on opera- 
tions not entirely supported by appropriated funds and whose profits 
did not accrue to the Treasury of the United States were also required 
to have labor contracts. In late 1943, PW's were used in officers' 
messes and clubs and enlisted men's service clubs only after a con- 
tract had been made between the mess officers or other reponsible 
officials and the PW camp commander. The activities located on mil- 
itary installations did not need a War Manpower Commission certifi- 
cationj and they paid the free labor wage rate of the community. If 
the activity was located off the military reservation, a War Manpower 
Commission certification that civilian labor was not available was 
needed before PW's could be employed. 62 

At first, because of the lack of an established policy, the Army Ex- 
change Service did not need a PW labor contract, and it paid the PW's 
80 cents a day directly from its profits. In February 1944, however, 
the War Department required the Exchange Service to have a con- 
's 8 Contrary to the statement in Federal Records of WWII, I, p. 8S9, the Timber Produc- 
tion War Project did not employ these PW's. See : Howard Hopltins, "Accomplishments 
of the Timber Production War Project," reprinted from Journal of Forestry, XLIV (1946), 
p. 331. Mr. Hopkins, now with the Forestry Branch, Dept of Agriculture, confirmed this 
by telephone on 8 Jan 53. For a transcript of this telephone conversation, see author's file. 

eoLtr, Hq, 1st Svc Cmd, to CO's, Posts, Camps, & Stations, 1st Svc Cmd, 6 Apr 44, sub: 
Employment of Prisoners of War. PW Me, 1st Svc Cmd, Policy. DPRB, TAG. 

eipw Bull 14, Hq, 3d Svc Cmd, 27 Jul 44. Prisoner of War Bulletins, 3d Svc Cmd. 

«2 "Kitchen Police and Waiters." Policy Book IIII, POWO Div, PMGO, Legal Br. 



tract. Under the new procedure, the post exchange reimbursed the 
U. S. Treasury at the prevailing free labor wage rate, and the War 
Department paid the prisoners the standard PW labor rate. 63 

In August 1944, the War Department further broadened its PW 
labor contract policy for military installations. PW canteens, post 
exchanges, and other branches of the Army Exchange Service, officers' 
clubs and messes, enlisted men's service clubs, and similar organizations 
on Navy installations did not require a War Manpower Commission 
certification. Further, they had to pay the U. S. Treasury only 80 
cents a day per P W for labor. 64 

On one occasion, contract labor was performed for a Federal agency 
by prisoners of war on a military installation. In February 1944, the 
Foreign Economic Administration proposed that PWs on certain 
Army installations be used to reclaim salvaged U. S. Army clothing for 
distribution among the liberated areas of Sicily, North Africa, and 
Italy. The agency agreed to pay the prevailing PW wage rate and 
the costs of subsistence, and, on the insistence of the War Department, 
to furnish the necessary supervisory personnel as well as the transporta- 
tion needed for handling the materials. It was not necessary to ob- 
serve the usual labor clearance procedures in this case since the project 
operated within the confines of an established PW camp and did not 
conflict in any way with the employment opportunities of free labor.* 5 

Although the use of prisoners of war by Federal agencies was limited 
in scope, it proved of value to the overall PW utilization program. 

* 3 Ltr, Col C. S. TJrwiller, Asst Dir, PW Div, ASP, to 'CO, PW Camp, Camp Butner, N. C, 
14 Feb 44, sub : Prisoner of War Labor Contracts. PMGO Reading File, "B" Series, I 
(Jan-Feb 44). DRB, TAG. 

81 PW Cir 42, 24 Aug 44, sub : Prisoner of War Labor in Canteens, Exchanges or Clubs. 
Copy in "Prisoner of War Operations," op. cit., vol. I of Tabs. 

<*Ur, Paul V. McNutt, Chm, WMC, to SW, 4 Feb 44. PMGO Reading File (Jan- 
Feb 44), "B" Series, I. DUB, TAG. 

Chapter 12 

The Closing Phases of the Program 
in the United States 

By 1945, 95.6 out of each 100 prisoners of war who could be employed 
under the terms of the Geneva Convention were working for private 
employers or on various military establishments. 1 On 8 May 1945, 
organized resistance in Europe ended, and plans were made to return 
the prisoners of war in the United States to their native countries as 
soon as possible. Existing policies and directives were clarified and 
brought to date, and on 31 May 1945 the War Department published 
its final policy governing PW employment. 2 The new policy consid- 
ered the cessation of hostilities in Europe; the preparations for the 
repatriation of the PW's to their homelands ; and the prospective in- 
creases in the TJ. S. civilian labor supply from industrial and military 
demobilization. Therefore it directed : 

■ a. Prisoners will be employed in so far as possible, for all work necessary 
for the administration, management, and maintenance of prisoner of war 

b. Prisoners will be employed on essential and unskilled work of the type 
permitted by the Geneva Convention, . . . other than that defined in a above, 
only when qualified civilian labor is not obtainable. 

To be consistent with the policies governing PW allocation, it also di- 
rected that the PW's be used on military and contract work until 

The cessation of hostilities in Europe, together with Japan's de- 
nunciation of the September 1940 Tripartite Alliance, made the pro- 
hibitions of the Geneva Convention against the use of German and 
Italian Fascist PW's on work directly related to military operations 
no longer applicable. 3 Since only a few Japanese PW's were interned 
in. the United States to whom Article SI of the Convention could still 

'ASF, "Annual Report of the Fiscal Year 1.945." REP-7, 1945. OCMII, Gen Ref Off. 

2 WD TM 19-500 "Employment and Compensation," eh. 5. This consolidated and super- 
seded all previous prisoner of war employment instructions. 

a Japan was no longer tin ally of the defeated governments. See : ASF Civ 280, 6 Jul 45, 
sec. I. Copy in "Prisoner of War Operations," op. cit., vol. II of Tabs ; see also : Memo, 
Col Archibald King, Ch, International Law Div, JAGD, for JAG, 24 May 45, sab : Effect 
of Unconditional Surrender on Bmployment of German Prisoners of War, G— 1 383.6 
Labor (1 Apr 43). DEB, TAG. 



be applied, the War Department terminated the services of the Pris- 
oner of War Employment Reviewing Board. German and Italian 
PW's were then used on work connected with war operations, but 
only if it were a temporary expedient. 4 

Repatriation as If Affected Prisoner of War Employment 

By the end of May 1945, all shipments of German and Italian pris- 
oners of war to the United States had ceased, and the War Depart- 
ment announced its policy of returning all PW's in America to Europe 
at the earliest possible date consistent with labor needs. 5 The Italian 
service units were to be repatriated first as a reward for their vol- 
untary service. The following factors were considered essential in 
controlling PW repatriation: (1) the availability of civilians to as- 
sume the work performed by the prisoners; (2) the total reduction 
in labor demands due to the capitulation of Japan; and (3) the avail- 
ability of shipping to transport the prisoners back to Europe. 

Early in 1945, the Director of War Mobilization and Reconversion 
requested the Secretary of War to make 140,000 PW's available for 
use in agriculture and industry. It was initially planned to transfer 
150,000 prisoners from Europe to •fulfill this request, but on V-E Day 
all PW shipments were terminated. Despite the fact that only 25,000 
of the 150,000 prisoners had been shipped, the War Department ful- 
filled its commitments and made the full number available. To do 
this, Army Service Forces closed many military installations, whose 
needs had been curtailed, and distributed the PW labor where it was 
most needed. 6 

By an agreement between the War Manpower Commission and the 
War Foods Administration, 85,000 PW's were allocated to agricul- 
ture and 55,000 to non agriculture projects. 7 Distribution of the PW's 
was made to the nine service commands by The Provost Marshal 
General on the basis of recommendations from the War Manpower 
Commission and the Agricultural Extension Service. The service 
command then distributed the PW's among the states comprising the 
service command. 

With the coming of V-E Day, it, became apparent that there would 
be immediate war production cutbacks, and the War Department 
emphasized that no civilian would be denied work opportunities 

* "Prisoner of War Operations," op. cit., p. 114 [text]. 

s ASF Cir 191, 20 May 45, sec. III. Copy In ibid., vol. II of Tabs. 

* John D. Millett, "The Army Service Forces in World War II," Administration of Posts, 
Camps, and Stations. Vol. I, 3-1.1 A, AA v. 1. OCMH, Gen Eef Off. 

T In the light of seasonal requirements, the number of PW's allocated to agriculture was 
staggered from 82,000 on 1 Aug to 100,000 during Oct and Nov and approximately 78,000 
in Dec 45. See : Ltr, Maj Gen Archer L. Lerch, TPMG, to Hon, John H. Kerr, HR, 13 Aug 
45. PMGO 253,5 Gen. P/W#20 (1 Aug-21 Aug 45). DRB, TAG; Itr, Brig. Gen B. M. 
Bryan, APMG, to Paul V. McNutt, Chm, WMC, 5 Jul 45, w/tabnlation of labor require- 
ments, PMGO Gen P/W, Contracts (1 Jul-31 Aug 45), DRB, TAG. 



through the use of PW labor. To forestall any criticism that PWs 
were being retained on jobs at the expense of returning servicemen, 
The Provost Marshal General urged the War Department to take the 
initiative in demanding that industry and agriculture employ to the 
maximum those veterans who had already returned. The Acting 
Secretary of War also suggested to the chairman of the War Man- 
power Commission and to the Secretary of Agriculture that em- 
ployers be urged to replace PW's with free labor, particularly since 
the War Department planned to return all German and Italian pris- 
oners of war to Europe at the earliest practicable moment. 

Positive steps were also taken to reduce PW employment. The War 
Department, in cooperation with the War Manpower Commission 
and the Department of Agriculture, conducted monthly surveys of 
the labor situation throughout the United States to determine the 
requirements for PW labor. From these surveys it. was predicted in 
August 1945 that sufficient free labor would be available in early 
1946 to replace PW labor. The War Department also requested the 
certifying agencies to review all PW labor certifications to determine 
those which could be terminated. It further directed the service 
commands to execute PW labor contracts only on a 30-day basis. 8 

In late 1945, the Secretary of Agriculture and some members of 
Congress insisted that the War Department retain prisoners of war 
for use in harvesting crops. The pressure became so great that in 
January 1946 the President of the United States announced, after 
consultation with the War Department, a deferment of 60 days in the 
return of contract PW's to alleviate the temporary labor shortage in 
the sugar beet, cotton, and pulp wood industries. Following the Presi- 
dent's statement, the Secretary of War informed the Secretary of 
Agriculture that 20,300 PW's would be available for agricultural labor 
in April; 10,150 in May; and 10,420 from 1 to 20 June 1946. 10 

Some members of Congress still desired to retain the PW's beyond 
the 60-day extension period, hut President Truman refused to inter- 
fere with the schedule of having all German PW's out of the United 
States by the end of June 1946. He stated that free labor was avail- 
able and that many veterans were seeking employment; therefore, a 
further extension was not justified. 11 This statement by President 
Truman led to the conclusion of the prisoner of war employment pro- 
gram in the United States. 

a Regional [Region VI] Memo 100, Placement Div 105, 21 Aug 45, sub: Use of Italian 
and German Prisoners of War. Kceorcls of the War Manpower Commission. National 

*See entire file PMGO 2S3.5 Gen P/W#6, Agriculture (From 1 Sep 45). DEB, TAG. 
• 10 Ltr, SW to Sec of Agriculture, 25 Feb 46. G-l 383.G Labor (14 May 43), "In Agri- 
culture and Food Processing." DEB, TAG. 

ULtrs, President Harry S. Truman to Senators Willis, Kilgore, Wheeler, and Millikin, 
11 Apr 46. Copies in ibid. 

Chapter 13 
The Mediterranean Theater 

On 8 November 1942, the Allied offensive in the West began with 
simultaneous landings at Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers in North 
Africa. Within three days French opposition had ceased and the 
French prisoners of war were disarmed and released ; but on 9 Novem- 
ber, Axis troops entered the Tunisian conflict. 1 After the fighting 
progressed, supply bases were established at Oran (Mediterranean 
Base Section) on 10 November 1942 to support the Center Task 
Force ; at Casablanca (Atlantic Base Section) on 30 December 1942 
to support the Western Task Force; and on 18 February 1943 at 
Constantine (Eastern Base Section) to support the Tunisian cam- 
paign. Kach operated separately at first and reported directly to 
Headquarters, North African Theater of Operations, U. S. Army 
(NATO USA) ; but on 15 February 1943, Services of Supply (SOS) 
NATOUSA was activated and given "command of all U. S. army 
supply activities in the Theater," including the base sections. 3 

On 16 December 1942 a theater headquarters (Allied Forces Head- 
quarters, North Africa [ AFHQ] ) was established in North Africa 
and included in its organization was an American Provost Marshal 
Section. This section took over the general supervision of prisoner 
of war inclosures from the headquarters commandant, AFHQ, who 
had previously handled all PW matters. It also supervised all Amer- 
ican provost marshal functions in the theater and advised the Allied 
Commander in Chief on all such matters. On 4 February 1943, 
NATOUSA was established as a separate theater, and a few months 
later, the AFHQ, Provost Marshal Section functions were transferred 

1 "Logistical History of NATOUSA-MTOUSA" p. IX. WAR-10, 2-THEA— NATOUSA- 
LOG. OCMII, Gen Ref Off ; sec also : Interview, Brig Gen P. M. Robinett (Ret.), 2 Mar 54. 
Author's file; Dr. George W. Howe, "Operations in Northwest Africa, 1942-1943" forth- 
coming in UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, ch. XIII, pp. 7-8 MS in 
OCMH, Gen Ref Off. 

2 Despite this apparent authority, SOS still Lad to go to Hq, NATOUSA, for all policy 
decisions. See : MS, "History of Communications Zone, NATOUSA— November 1942- 
November 1944" (hereafter cited as "History of Com Z, NATOUSA" ) , vol. I, pp. 1, 11. 8-4 
BA VI CI. OCMH, Gon Ref Off; see also: MS, "History of Allied Forces Headquarters 
and Headquarters, NATOUSA, December 1942-December 1943" (hereafter cited as "His- 
tory of ADSEO"), sec. I (Pt. 2), pp. 168-69, 174. 8-4 ADZ. OCMH, Gen Ref Off ; MS, 
"Logistical History of NATOUSA-MTOUSA," op. oit., p. 23. 




Figure 6. . German prisoner of war camp at Mat cur, 'North Africa. 

to the theater. Prisoner of war policy decisions were then made by 
both G-l, AFHQ, and G-l, KATOUSA . B 

Early Use of PW Labor in North Africa 

The invasion plans for North Africa had not provided for the use 
of prisoner of war labor. In September 1942, General Eisenhower 
recommended "that all Axis prisoners of war who are Europeans cap- 
tured in the special operations now in prospect be sent direct to the 
United States in American ships and be held by the United States act- 
ing as the detaining power." 4 This policy was carried out by the three 
task forces involved in the North Africa landings. 5 During the initial 
stages a shortage of service troops greatly hindered the combat opera- 
tions. Some units, who urgently needed equipment that had not been 
landed, had to divert combat troops to aid in the unloading opera- 

3 This division of responsibility inter led to confusion and delay. See : MS, "History 
of. the Provost Marshal General's Office, 1042---1945," H<j, MTOUSA, pp. 1, 10, 22. Salmon 
Ifile. GCMH, Gen Rof Oil!. 

4 CM-0UT 2106, Eisenhower to Marshall, 12 Sep 42, sub ; Prisoners of Wur ; AFHQ 
Cir 5, 15 Oct 42, sub: Prisoners of War. Both on AOTIQ, AG Film TC-82D (S). 

. s c-l Annex to Admin. Order 1, Center Task Force, p. 5. 0100/21 AFHQ AG Sec. 381 
(TOUCH), National Defense, col. IV, 1.2 Oct 42 (24 81D) Serial 337. Records of Allied 
Forces Headquarters. DKB, TAG ; see also : 1st Div After-action report, Nov 42 w/lncl. 
Center Task Force and Eastern Task Force Preparations in UK Movement to Theater (S). 



tions. Arab and French civilians also had to be pressed into service, 
but the 1 anguage barrier reduced the effectiveness of this labor. As the 
advance into Tunisia spread the lines of communications, more labor 
was needed; consequently, prisoners of war had to be used to ease the 
situation. 9 

In January 1943, NATOUSA authorized the employment of PWs 
on ordinary inclosure duties while awaiting evacuation but did not pay 
them for this labor. Many Italian PWs, who volunteered for work, 
were drawn from the stockades on a day-to-day basis and were used 
as common labor. The types of work on which they could be used 
and the payment provisions were governed by War Department 
directives. 7 

During the final phases of the North African campaign and with 
the ultimate surrender of Italian and German forces at Tunisia in May 
1943, 252,415 Axis prisoners of war were taken. Consequently, Allied 
prisoner of war installations became overtaxed. To alleviate the situ- 
ation, PW processing was increased to segregate those who could be 
retained for labor. 8 German PWs were evacuated to the United 
States, but the Italian PWs were segregated into secure (good security 
risk) and insecure (poor security risk) classes — the secure classes to 
be retained in North Africa for labor. Thus, NATOUSA used only 
Italian prisoners of war for labor in North Africa and Sicily. In ad- 
dition 15,000 Italian and 5,000 German PWs were transferred to the 
cooperating French authorities for labor purposes. 9 

As in the United States, fears of sabotage and escape initially 
hindered the prisoner of war employment program. Many of the 
technical services objected to their use; but as the need for labor in- 
creased, the PWs were used for warehouse work, transportation work, 
road construction, and as general laborers. The Engineer Corps 
formed 16 PW engineer labor companies with 153 men to a company. 

o "Logistical History of NATOUSA-MTOUSA," op. elt., pp. 272-74. For a detailed 
account of early PW negotiations with the French in North Africa, see : Robert Wikomer, 
"Civil Affairs and Military Government in the Mediterranean Theater," ch. 1. 2-3.7 AX 
C2. OCMH, Gen Eef Off, 

T After war was declared, a copy of tentative manual "Civilian Eneujy Aliens and 
Prisoners of War," dtd 22 Apr 42, was sent to all theater commanders as a guide for the 
treatment, internment, and employment of prisoners of war. Copy filed in "Prisoner of 
War Operations," op, eit., vol, I of tabs ; see also : "Logistical History of NATOUSA- 
MTOUSA," op. ext., p. 283 ; WD Cir 10, 5 Jan 43 ; ltr, Ch Admin Officer, AFHQ, to H<l 
LofC, Tunisia Dist,. 1 Jun 43, sub: Employment of Prisoner of War Labour. AFHQ 
A. A. I. "A" Film R 190-F. DRB, TAG ; Hq, MATOUSA, "Administrative Instructions for 
U. S. Enclosures in NATOUSA," sec. X, 28 Mar, 43. Peninsular Base Sec, AG 383.6 Policy, 
1 Jan 43-31 Dec 44. DPRB, TAG. 

8 The Mediterranean Base Section In Oran alone processed 9,316 Italian and 39,171 
German PW's between May and Jun 43. See : MS, "History of the Mediterranean Base 
Section, September 1942-May 1044," p. 34. 8-4 BSM (vol. I) ACC. 210-11. OCMH, 
Gen Eef Off. 

6 MCmo, Brig Gen B. M. Sawbrldge for CofS, AFHQ, 25 May 43, sub.: Transfer of 
Prisoners of War to French. AFHQ AG Film R 124-D ; ltr, Maj Gen W. B. Smith, CofS, 
AFHQ, to Gen H. Giraud, 29 May 43, sub : Prisoners of War. Supreme Allied Com- 
mander's Secretariat Film R-73 Special (SJ; DEB, TAG. 



The Invasion of Sicily 

After a brief period of regrouping and reequipping, Allied forces 
invaded the key island of Sicily on 10 July 1943. The need for labor 
was soon felt, and on 13 July AFHQ instructed the U. S. Seventh 
Army and the British Eighth Army to retain the maximum number 
of PW's who would be administratively useful and yet would be harm- 
less to operations. German PW's, Italian Fascists, and all officers 
(other than medical officers and chaplains) were to be evacuated. A 
few weeks later, in order to benefit Sicilian agriculture and construc- 
tion, the Combined Chiefs of Staff authorized the release of local 
farmers and laborers of Sicilian origin on parole to their officers. 10 
Each PW was furnished a certificate which showed that he had been 
examined and dismissed on good behavior; but he was warned that he 
was subject to reimprisonment if found to be vagrant, unemployed, 
or undesirable. Thus 61,658 Italian officers and enlisted men were 
paroled by United States forces. All paroled officers had to be pro- 
tected personnel — doctors, medical technicians, etc. 11 

The Italian Surrender 

On 8 September 1943, the Italian Government surrendered to Allied 
forces and expressed the desire to cooperate with them in every way 
possible in driving the Germans out of Italy. Accordingly, AFHQ 
authorized the commanding general of the Allied forces in Italy to 
release, parole, or detain at his discretion, depending solely upon 
which status most aided the war effort, Italian prisoners of war taken 
in Italy before -the armistice and who had not been evacuated from the 
country. However, the number to be released was to be kept to a 
minimum, with each case being fully justified by essential war 
requirements. 12 

With the surrender of Italy and its new government being accorded 
the status of a cobelligerent, five different categories of Italian mili- 
tary personnel existed: (1) naval and military personnel who as units 
or stragglers fled from German-controlled areas at the armistice and 
who presented themselves to the Allies (these were not interned but 

10 This was also dorm for the propaganda value and psychological effect it would have 
on Italian troops on tile Italian mainland and in the Balkans. See CM-IN 0801, G-2, 
AFHQ, to 7th Army, Stli Army, AFHQ, 28 Jul 43 ; CM-IN Allied Force Hq 3332, TAG 
to Eisenhower, 25 Jul 43. Both in AFHQ AG Film R 125-D. DRB, TAG. 

11 CM— IN 0801, G-2, AFHQ, to 7th Army, 8th Army, AFHQ, 28 Jul 43. AFHQ AG 
Film E 125-D; CM-OUT 81216, CG, NATOUSA, for info CG, AAI, etc., 10 Aug 44. 
AFHQ G-5 Film 276-B ; DF, Hq, NATOUSA, PMG, SOS, to G-l, 20 May 44, sub: Pris- 
oners of War Liberated 111 Sicily (S). AFHQ AG Film R 74-C. DRB, TAG; DF, Maj 
Gen Thos. T. Handy to G-l, 23 Jun 44, sub : Proposed Release of Italian Prisoners of War 
in Sicily. ASF 383.6 Italians (27 Jun 44). DRB, TAG. 

13 CM-0tIT W1815, Eisenhower to Marshall, 6 Oct 43 (S). ACC 10000/101/447,383.6 
Prisoners of War (TS). DRB, TAG. 


were released on parole) ; 13 (2) the interned prisoners of war on Sicily 
who were paroled and later released altogether; (3) pro-Fascist pris- 
oners of war who were formed into PW labor companies; (4) coop- 
erative prisoners of war (volunteers to the Allied cause) from which 
Italian service units were formed; and (5) Italian soldiers on active 
duty with Italian Army units. 14 

In Sicily certain problems arose relative to the paroled prisoners of 
war. Local police refrained from arresting suspected criminals or 
released them if they had parole forms. On the other hand, some 
Italian officers ordered parolees of specific military classes to report for 
duty with the Italian Army and in some instances ordered the arrest 
of those who failed to do so. The Italian officers ignored the paroled 
status of the PW's giving the reason that the parole form "is not in 
effect because Sicily was returned to the Kingdom of Italy." Because 
of the problems attendant upon the status of Italy as a cobelligerant, 
the Supreme Allied Commander in the Mediterranean recommended 
that these prisoners be released outright when Sicily was returned to 
the jurisdiction of the Italian Government. 16 As a matter of military 
expediency coincident with the closing of the Island Base Section on 
Sicily in July 1944, the Headquarters, Allied Command, relieved the 
PW's from their parole and released them outright on the authority 
of the following instructions : 

When informing the Italian Government of the intended release of these 
paroled Italian prisoners of war you should not (repeat not) go into the 
question of Italy's right as cobelligerent or its jurisdiction in the territory 
concerned. You should merely state that this action is being taken as an 
earnest indication of the desire of the United States and the British Com- 
monwealth Governments to do everything compatible with their respon- 
sibilities for the successful conclusion of the war against the common enemy 
to alLeviate the situation of Italian military personnel." 

The Italian Service Unit Program in North Africa 

In September 1943, United States forces in North Africa and Sicily 
held approximately 82,000 Italian PW's; the British, 40,000; and the 
French about 50,000. Allied commanders found it impracticable to 
release or parole these and then use them as civilians for labor pur- 
poses. If this had been done, the released prisoners would have had 

13 AFHQ Coordinating Routing Slip, Mil Govt Set to PMG and G-l, 21 Apr 44, sub: 
Status of Paroled Prisoners of War (C). AFIIQ AG Film R T4-C. DRB, TAG. 

" Ltr, Col A. N. Stubblebine, Hq, IBS & 10th Port, to CG, SOS, NATOUSA, 7 Apr 44, 
sub : Status of Paroled Prisoners of War. Ibid.; ltr, Col Clias. W. Spofford, Mil Govt Sec, 
AFHQ, to Hq, Allied Control Com, 27 Apr 44, sub : Paroled Prisoners of War. AFIIQ 
G-5 Policy and Control Film R 276-B (C). DRB, TAG. 

15 DF, Ma] Gen Thos. T. Handy, ACofS, to G-l, 23 Jun 44, sub: Proposed Release of 
Italian Prisoners of War in Sicily. ASF 383.6 Italian (27 Jun 44). DRB, TAG. 

18 COM-IN 54700, TAG to Wilson, 22 Jun 44 (S). Cited in ibid. ; see also : Ltr, Lt Col 
J. A. Campbell to Italian High Commissioner, 12 Oct 44, sub : Release of Italian Prisoners 
of War in Sicily. ACC 10000/120/8B, Italian Mil. Personnel Prisoners of War (Sep-Dec 
44). DRB, TAG. 

338293— 55 13 



to maintain themselves from civilian stocks. Also, Allied com- 
manders were afraid that the French populace in North Africa might 
think Italy would go unpunished for its role as an Axis partner. On 
the other hand, Allied forces wanted to employ these prisoners of war 
at ports and depots on work that was ordinarily prohibited by the 1929 
Geneva Convention. "When Marshal Pietro Badoglio, head of the 
capitulated government, issued a proclamation subsequent to the 
armistice inviting all Italians "to resist and obstruct the operations of 
the German forces in every way possible as long as they remain on 
Italian soil," Allied commanders considered they had full authority 
to use any, Italian PWs who had voluntarily acceded to the new Italian 
government. Thus, AFHQ considered Article 31 of the Geneva Con- 
vention which prohibited PW employment on work directly connected 
with war operations as not applicable, but it did consider Article 32 
which prohibited dangerous work as applicable to Italian personnel in 
a PW status. 17 

The Badoglio Proclamations 

Under the Italian penal code, Italian officers and rJCO's could not 
command prisoners of war, and the Geneva PW Convention pro- 
hibited PW employment on work directly connected with war opera- 
tions. To bypass these possible restrictions on full employment, the 
Allied Forces Headquarters suggested that Marshal Badoglio urge all 
prisoners of war to cooperate. In answer to this suggestion Badoglio 
issued the following proclamation on 11 October 1943, which was 
posted in all prisoner of war camps : 

To the Officers, Warrant Officers, and enlisted personnel comprising 
Italian war prisoners of the Anglo-Americans. 

In the new political-military situation, arisen because of the attitude and 
hostile German action towards Italy, it is our intention to proffer the 
Allies all possible, active collaboration in order to achieve the common 
objective of ridding our country of the residue of German troops still 
occupying a large section of our nation. 

It is therefore our duty to help the Allies in every possible way, ex- 
cepting in actual combat. We are to be linked together closely in bellicose 
activities constituting special services and in work under the command of 
officers to be designated. 

In that manner you will collaborate efficaciously from now on in the 
fight for our redemption from the century-old enemy as the very populace 
in ITALY is now doing alongside the Anglo-American forces for the libera- 
tion of the Homeland. 
Signed: The Marshal of Italy: BADOGLIO. 18 

"Memo, Brig Gen B. M. Sawbridge, G-l, NATOUSA, to WD ACofS, G-l, 8 Apr 44, 
sub: U. S.-British-Itallan Agreement regarding Italian PW Service Units. ASP 383.6 
Italian Service Units (1 Feb 44) ; Routing Slip, JAG, NATOUSA, to G-l, NATOUSA, 17 
Sep 43, sub: Present Status of Italian Prisoners of War. Supreme Allied Commander's 
Secretariat Film It 73 Special. DEB, TAG. 

18 CM OUT NATOUSA W-2902, Eisenhower to TAG, 19 Oct 43 (S). ACC 10000/101/ 
447,383.6 Prisoners of War (TS) ; see also: Memo, Brig Gen B. M. Sawbridge, G-l, 
NATOUSA to WD, G-l, 8 Apr 44, sub: U.S.-British- Italian Agreement regarding Italian 
Prisoner of War Service Units. ASF 383.6, Italian Service Units (1 Feb 44). DEB, TAG. 



In January 1944, the Combined Chiefs of Staff (representing both 
the American and British Governments) directed General Eisen- 
hower to obtain a written military agreement with the Italian- Gov- 
ernment which would confirm the earlier oral pronouncement of 
Marshal Badoglio. In essence, the. proposed agreement stated that 
all captured Italians would retain their PW status but would be 
permitted to volunteer for service in units to be employed by the 
United States, Great Britain, or other United Nations commands. 
It also proposed that the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative 
to employment on dangerous work and to the location of the PW's 
be suspended. It further suggested that the functions of the Pro- 
tecting Power be replaced with direct relations between the Allied 
governments and Italy. 10 

Marshal Badoglio, however, refused repeatedly to sign such an 
agreement stating : 

The consent in general terms given by me to General Eisenhower and 
my first brief message to the prisoners of war on October 11, 1943, did not 
authorize at all the formation of units without the agreement of the Italian 
Command in the determination of procedures of formation, command, de- 
pendency, and namely, without due regard for the natural rights of the 
Italian Nation and for those granted to the Nation's signatories of the 
Geneva Convention. 2 " 

He, in turn, proposed that Italian PW's be released from their status 
without recourse to a volunteer system which, he stated, was con- 
trary to basic Italian military law. He further proposed the forma- 
tion of battalion-size Italian units, under command of Italian officers 
and noncommissioned officers and subject to the rules of Italian dis- 
cipline, and the liberation of all Italian prisoners of war in Italy. 

When further attempts to conclude the proposed agreement ended 
in failure, representatives of the United States and British Govern- 
ments prepared a letter, in lieu of a formal agreement, for exchange 
between the commander in chief, Mediterranean Theater of Oper- 
ations (MTO), and Marshal Badoglio. This letter limited the pre- 
vious provisions to waiver by the Italian Government of Articles 9, 
31, and 32 of the Geneva Convention insofar as they restricted the 
location and nature of employment of prisoners of war. It also con- 
tained an agreement that the Italian Government instead of a neu- 
tral power would exercise the protective functions. 21 

"CM-IN 6384,. TAG to Eisenhower, 5 Jan 44 (S). AFHQ G-5 Film R--27Q-B (TS). 

2® Ltr, Marshal Badoglio to Lt Gen Noel Mason MacFarlane, Ch, Allied Control Com- 
mission, 10 May 44. ASF 383.6 Italian (27 Jim 44) . DRB, TAG. 

21 DF, Maj Gen Thos, T, Handy to G-l, 13 Mar 44, sub : Treatment of Italian Prisoners 
of War under the Italian Government's Co-Belligerent Status. ASF 383.6 Italian (27 Jun 
44) ; CM-IN AFHQ 2067, CCS to Wilson, IS Mar 44 (S). AFHQ G-5 Film R-270-B. 



Badoglio refused to exchange letters and reiterated his earlier pro- 
posal that Italian PW's be released to Italian control. As a counter- 
offer he proposed that the units, when released, be subject to the 
military law of the government to whose troops the Italian units were 

With the negotiations apparently stalled, the Allied representative 
to the Italian Government, Lt, Gen. Noel Mason MacFarlane, sug- 
gested that the Combined Chiefs of Staff go ahead with the employ- 
ment of volunteer Italian prisoners of war, stating: "If the plan is 
adopted on a volunteer basis to meet immediate needs, we have good 
reason for hoping there will be no serious political repercussions. 
Badoglio might well be willing to adopt the negative attitude of leav- 
ing us to shoulder the responsibility for our own decisions." 22 

In face of the Italian Government's repeated refusals to acknowl- 
edge the right of the Allied governments to use Italian prisoners of 
war in service units as they saw fit, the Combined Chiefs of Staff on 
5 May 1944 authorized the commanding general, AFIIQ, "to continue 
actively to organize, train and utilize Italian Prisoner of War Service 
Units in war work against Germany, excepting in actual combat." 
As a result, organization of the units proceeded on the basis of the 
earlier Badoglio pronouncement in which he waived the prohibitions 
of Article 31 of the Geneva Convention on work directly connected 
with military operations against Germany. A further contract was 
not considered essential. 23 

Establishment of Service Units 

Beginning in October 1943, NATOUSA organized volunteer Italian 
prisoners of war into service units using tables of organization 
(TOE's) patterned after appropriate War Department TOE's. 24 
Needed specialist units were organized first, and the remaining un- 
skilled PW's were organized into labor companies of 250 men each. 
Each unit was staffed with Italian officers and NCO's (supervised by 
an American or Allied officer) , who were responsible for administra- 
tion and discipline. Each labor company was required to perform any 
labor required by the base section. 

At first, it was planned that unit organization would be concurrent 
with screening ; however, the urgent need for PW labor precluded any 
intensive screening. The PW's had previously been classified in one of 

CM-OUT M 137, Allied Mil Mission to Allied Forces Hq, 5 Apr 44 (TS). ACC 10000/ 
101/448 383,6 Prisoners of War (Mar-May 44) (TS). DKB, TAG. 

2*CM-IN 32513, CCS to Wilson, 5 May 44 (S). AFHQ G-5 Film 276-B (S), DEB, 

These tentative TO's were subject to War Department approval. See: Msg 290905A, 
CG, NATOUSA, to CO, IBS. Copy in MS, "History of Island Base Section, United States 
Army," MP Sec, pp. 12-14. File 8-4 FA. OCMI-I, Gen Eef Off. For tentative TO's used 
by Hq, Atlantic Base Section, see : AG Atlantic Base Sec 383.6, Prisoners of War {9-8-43 
to 11-30-43). DPEB, TAG. 



three categories : A — secure, E — doubtful, or C — insecure. Class C 
prisoners were held in close confinement until transportation was 
available for evacuation. Under the new setup, Allied commanders 
simply examined one or two Italian officers for each unit, and if they 
were satisfactory held them responsible for the security control of the 
PW's in their company. The Italian officers could recommend the 
removal of any undesirable prisoners. Meanwhile, American person- 
nel continuously observed each unit to detect any insecure personnel. 
Later, G-2 security teams went to all main PW camps and subcamps 
and interrogated each prisoner of war separately. Approximately 
11,000 Italian PW's were screened in the Eastern Base Section alone, 
from Constantine, Algeria, to Tunis, Tunisia. 25 

Each PW was given the opportunity to execute a "Declaration of 
Italian Prisoner of War," in which he agreed to cooperate fully with 
the Allied Forces in the furtherance of the war effort. He was not 
compelled to sign. In fact, the attitude of cooperation was so wide- 
spread among Italian PW's that many volunteered to assist the Allies 
even before the Italian capitulation. 20 

Early I5U Employment Plans 

When subordinate units received the order to activate the Italian 
service units (ISU) , they proceeded as they saw fit. Definite instruc- 
tions were not issued by NATOUSA until January 1944. E7 In the 
Mediterranean Base Section, two Italian generals, who were anti- 
Fascist and anti-German, supervised the organization of the Italian 
service units. 28 At the request of the technical services in the base 
sections, who estimated the number of units necessary for their work, 
Headquarters, Mediterranean Base Section, organized the units fol- 
lowing War Department tables of organization and basic allowances. 

On 6 January 1944 the Eastern Base Section issued the following 
rules for the Italian prisoners within its confines and in the 8th Port 

1. Italian PW's would be treated as prisoners of war regardless of 
cobelligerent status. 

2. The commanding officer of the using service was responsible for 
discipline, training, housing, clothing, and feeding ISU personnel. 

^Ltr, G-2, AFHQ, to G-2, NATOUSA, 20 Sep 43, sub: Organization of Italian Pris- 
oners of War for labor. ■ AFHQ G-2 Cli, Film R SO-I (TS). DRB, TAG; ltr, G-2, 
Eastern Base See to G-2, NATOUSA, 8 Dec 43, sub : Security Screening of Italian 
Prisoners of War in EES Area. AFHQ G-2 Cli Film R 78-1 (TS). DRR, TAG. 

2 « Copy of declaration is in author's file. See also : Ltr, CG, Br Supply Dist, 8th Army, 
to "A", 15 Army Gp, 14 Sep 43, sub : Italian applications for service with Allied Forces. 
AFHQ A. A. I. Film R 190-F ; ltr, Hq, NATOUSA, to CG's, SOS, NATOUSA, Twelfth Air 
Force, etc., 10 Oct 43, sub: Organization of Italian Prisoners of War for Labor. G-l 383.6 
Italian (15 .Tun 43). DRB, TAG. 

» "History of the PMGO, 1942-1945," Hq, MTOUSA, op. tit., p. 12. 

Brig Gen Angelo Agro, Commandant, Territorial Defense, Zone of Palermo, and Brig 
Gen Antonio Sodero, Commandant, Port of Trapani. 



3. PW's were to be kept busy 16 hours a day. 

4. IBTJ training requirements were to be the same as for U. S. troops, 
with a minimum of six hours weekly devoted to such disciplinary 
training as inspections, physical training, and close order drill. 

5. Italian PW guards were to be armed only with a club and were 
to be denied access to arms and ammunition. 

6. Italian PW's could not be placed on sentry duty outside any 
camp or inclosure, nor could they have authority over any groups 
other than fellow Italian prisoners. 

7. Violations of orders, regulations, and laws were to be punished 
in the following order of severity : loss of privileges, extra fatigue, 
movement into a shelter tent camp, segregation from other Italian 
prisoners, and trial by court-martial. 20 

A few weeks later, the Eastern Base Section organized an Italian 
service unit section under the supervision of its adjutant general. 
This new unit facilitated transmission of orders and information 
and aided in the formation of PW labor units for the technical services. 
It also organized English classes for the prisoners; had technical 
material translated so the units could function properly; and pub- 
lished a biweekly paper in the Italian language. 30 Other base sections 
activated provisional prisoner of war administrative companies to 
handle administrative and supply functions for the Italian service 

Within a base section, ISU's worked under the direction of the 
base section commander and performed any and all work required by 
the using services. American PW administrative companies directed 
those units located outside the territorial limits of a base section. The 
base, sections classified the Italian prisoners according to principal 
and secondary skills and kept a record of this information. When the 
prisoners were transferred to another area, the classification cards 
accompanied them. 

Italian PW company, battalion, and separate unit commanders 
requisitioned, received, and signed for property issued to them as 
did American unit commanders. Generally, ISU's worked 6 days 
a week, 10 hours a day, under the same conditions as TJ. S. service 
troops and on the same type work. When possible, they were given 
the same type living quarters and were issued a modified American 
ration with more starches, more palatable to Italians. The Italian 
PW's were also allowed passes and special privileges. 31 

29 MS, "History Eastern Base Section," 1 Jan-1 May 44, AG Sec, pp. 255-57. 8-4 BA 
vol. 7. OCMH, Gen Kef Off. 

»•> Ibid., Italian Service Unit Sec, pp. 263-65. 

51 Irtr, G-5 Sec, AFHQ, to Hq, Allied Control Commission, 24 Sep 44, sub : Italian Pris- 
oners of War— General Policy. AFHQ G-5, Film 276-B. DUB, TAG. 



Supervision and Use of Italian Service Units 

Allied commanders used two methods to supervise Italian service 
units. One method was the buddy system in which Italian PW's 
worked side by side with American soldiers and under American fore- 
men. The second method was to work an Italian PW unit inde- 
pendently under its own command, with American supervision com- 
ing through technical channels. The latter method was more ad- 
vantageous as it facilitated direct control without the difficulty of a 
language barrier and national habits. Both methods or combinations 
of both were used satisfactorily depending upon local conditions, 
types of work, and the intelligence and training of the prisoners in- 
volved. 32 


American units, the counterparts of the Italian PW companies, 
supervised and trained those Italian service units assigned to their 
branch of service. When this was not possible, competent TJ. S. per- 
sonnel was detailed to supervise the prisoners' technical training. In 
the Mediterranean Base Section, a motor school was operated continu- 
ously to train Italian PW's in the use and care of American vehicles. 33 
In 1944, an Italian PW military police center was activated in the 
Adriatic Base Section at Bari, Italy, to alleviate a shortage of military 
police personnel. American commanders sent selected Italian PW 
volunteers to the center where they were organized and trained under 
the same program as were American military police units. 34 After 
three months' training, they were assigned to security duties and to 
guard German prisoners of war. 


Italian PW's serving in ISU's were paid at the standard rate of 
80 cents a day for labor, and 40 cents a day when hospitalized in the 
line of duty. They were also allowed the 10 cents a day personal al- 
lowance, less deductions such as the value of PX items issued during 
the month. A payroll was kept and the total amount of the payroll 
was deposited in TJ. S. Treasury Fund 218915 — a fund solely for 
money due prisoners of war. Each PW had his record credited with 
the total amount due him, and he received one-third of his monthly 
labor pay in cash and the balance in post exchange coupons. 35 Italian 

™ "Logistical History of ISTAT0USA-MT0USA," op. oit., p. 284. 

^Monthly Narrative Rpt 10, Hc(, Mediterranean Base Sec, 30 Nov 44, p. 6. DKB, TAG. 
34 The PW units were activated under TOE 19-57. 

55 The amount could be placed to his credit in the trust fund if he so desired. ' See : WD 
Press Belease, 7 May 44, sub : Service Units Formed for Italian Prisoners of War, ASF 
383.6 Italian Service Units (1 Feb 44). DBS, TAG ; ltr, G-5 Sec, AFHQ, to Ha, Allied 
Control Commission, 24 Sep. 44, sub : Italian Prisoners of War— General Policy. AFHQ 
G-5Fihn276-B, DRB, TAG. 



PW officers, when employed as supervisors, received 80 cents a day for 
their services. 


In the Eastern Base Section, Italian officers assigned to command 
positions in the ISU's were responsible for the internal organization 
as well as for the administration and discipline of the units. Ameri- 
can administrative liaison officers designated by the provost marshal 
supervised and approved their decisions. 36 ISU personnel were sub- 
ject to the punitive Articles of War which were read to them in the 
Italian language. PW officers administered punishment under Ar- 
ticle of War 104 which was limited to reprimand, withholding of 
privileges, extra fatigue, or restriction of not more than seven days. 
Trial by summary court was authorized, but the punishment imposed 
could not be greater than 30 days imprisonment. Graver offenses 
were referred to higher headquarters for suitable action. 37 

Accomplishments of ISU's 

Generally, Italian service units performed work similar to that done 
by their American counterpart. Ports, of embarkation units, steve- 
doring units, quartermaster depot units, laundry and bakery units, 
ordnance and automotive maintenance units, signal construction units, 
and others performed labor normally at a premium in an active theater 
of operations. 

As to competency, an Italian PW laundry unit approached to within 
2 percent of the production figure maintained by similar TJ. S. laundry 
units. The 7620th Ordnance Ammunition Company (Italian) became 
so proficient in the renovation of ammunition that the Ordnance Sec- 
tion, NATOUSA, requested that it be retained by the American Army 
as one of the few thoroughly trained ammunition renoyation com- 
panies available. Another PW unit trained in bomb disposal opera- 
tions became proficient in the handling of enemy duds. Skilled work- 
men, such as carpenters and plumbers, helped in the utilities section 
of the Peninsular Base Section. Tank truck platoons and gasoline 
supply companies were also organized from Italian prisoners of war. 
The Chemical Warfare Branch used PW's at depots and dumps where 
they proved so efficient that depot operations at several installations 
needed only one American service company. PW military police 
companies, as well as quartermaster truck companies, also operated 
in the Mediterranean theater. 

By May 1945, Italian volunteer PW guard units were employed 
at sujch U. S. inclosures and static installations as port facilities, 

*>Ltr, Hq, NATOUSA, to CG's, SOS, NATOTJSA, 12th Air Force, etc., 10 Oct 43, sub: 
Organization of Italian Prisoners of War for Labor. G~l 383.6 Italian (15 Jun 43), DRB, 

37 Cir 9, Hq, Eastern Base See and 8th Port, 22 Feb 44, sub ; Discipline among Italian 
Service Units. AFHQ G-2 Cli Film R 78-1 (TS). DEB, TAG. 



dumps, and warehouses in military areas and vehicular parks. They 
also directed traffic and acted as guards at passenger terminals and air 
fields. The PW's were armed, in accordance with applicable tables of 
organization and equipment, only while on duty, and necessary meas- 
ures were taken to prevent them from having unauthorized access to 
arms and ammunition. 38 

NATOUSA Manpower Board 

To use all available manpower more efficiently, including prisoners 
of war, NATOUSA created a manpower board in July 1944, con- 
sisting of the inspectors general of NATOUSA; SOS, NATOUSA; 
and the Army Air Force, MTO. This board conducted constant sur- 
veys of all units and installations in the theater to determine if they 
were essential and if they were being used for the purpose intended. 
It also determined if the authorized personnel was excessive ; which 
part could be eliminated ; and if maximum use was made of available 
limited assignment personnel. The board submitted monthly progress 
reports to NATOUSA which took the corrective action. An ad hoc 
committee, NATOUSA, later assumed the responsibilities of the 
manpower board. 39 

Italian PW Labor on the Italian Mainland 

During the early days of fighting in Italy, Allied commanders 
evacuated prisoners of war as quickly as possible to North Africa and 
used civilians for essential labor. This was done to preclude any possi- 
ble political repercussions. An early Allied policy also stated that no. 
"Italian Prisoners of War, either as individuals or in units, be taken 
to the Italian mainland either for duty or for transshipment." *° But 
NATOUSA did allow subordinate commands to release individual 
PW's so they could be hired as civilians and taken to Italy. 41 As the 
war progressed up the Italian boot and as new technical service centers 
were opened in the summer' of 1944 at Rome, Piombino, Leghorn, and 
Florence, U. S. service troops were transferred from North Africa to 
provide the needed labor. 

To support the invasion of southern France (Operation DRA- 
GOON) in August 1941, NATOUSA assigned the best trained Amer- 

Ilq, MTOUSA, "Administrative Instructions for United States Prisoner of War En- 
closures in MTOUSA," 3 May 45, ch. X. G-2, 15th Army Gp Film R 164-F. DEB, TAG. 

MS, "History of AFHQ, July 44-Dec 45," op, cit., sec, 11, "NATOUSA Manpower 
Board," pp. 189-90. 8-4 AD4, OCMH, Gen Ref Off. 

« CM-IN 70305, NATOUSA for SOS, NATOUSA, 7th Army, etc., 11 Jul 44 (S). AFHQ 
G-2 Clii Film R 452-F <S) , DRB, TAG, 

11 In July 44, British troops used Italian PW's in Italy, See : Note by See, AFHQ, 17 
Jul 44, sub : Political Committee — Status and Employment of Italian Prisoners of War. 
AFHQ G-5 Film R 276-B. DRB, TAG. 



ican and Italian service units in Italy and North Africa and thereby 
lost them for use in the Mediterranean theater. By October 1944, ap- 
proximately 28,000 Italian PW's in American custody were already in 
France or were being moved from North Africa for use in service units 
supporting the operation. To justify their use, Allied authorities in- 
formed the French administration that such a move was a military 
necessity to assist in the liberation of France. The Italian PW units 
were not used forward of the communication zone nor were they used 
directly in the rear of the attacking armies. For security reasons, the 
Italian Government was not notified of the invasion plans nor of the 
use of Italian service units in France. Meanwhile, in North Africa 
new units were formed to replace those which had departed. 42 

In Italy, the demand for service troops to support militar3 r opera- 
tions constantly exceeded the supply, and the withdrawal of service 
troops to support the DRAGOON forces also added to the logistical 
problem. Because it was necessary to use PW labor in Italy, the Com- 
manding General, Mediterranean Theater of Operations, U. S. Army 
(MTOTJSA) 43 ordered approximately 15,000 ISU troops to the Italian 
mainland. This matter had been broached verbally to the Italian 
prime minister who raised no objections. Thereupon, in November 
1944, the first Italian service units arrived in Italy. 44 

During this time the State Department pressed the "War Depart- 
ment continuously for the complete release and repatriation of all Ital- 
ian prisoners of war in the Mediterranean theater, but the War De- 
partment resisted on the grounds of operational necessity. Since 
early 1944, the British had used Italian prisoners on the Italian main- 
land without receiving a formal protest from the Italian Government. 
And Lt. Gen. Mark Clark, commanding the U. S. Fifth Army, warned 
that any formal discussions by the State Department regarding Amer- 
ican-controlled prisoners of war in Italy might jeopardize the British- 
controlled PW's, not only in Italy; but in other theaters such as India. 
Military considerations prevailed, and members of Italian service units 
retained their PW status. 45 

^ AFHQ Note 34, Col J. H. Lascelles, Sec, Political Committee, AFHQ, 2 Oct 44, sub: 
Political Committee — Use of Italian Prisoners of War in Southern France. AFHQ G-5 film 
277-B ; see also : Ltr, AG, Hq, SOS, NATOUSA, to CG, NATOUSA, 11 Apr 44, sub : For- 
eign Manpower : Prisoners of War (Italian, Yugo-slav and German). AFHQ G-2 Clii Film 
452-F (S). DEB, TAG. 

*» NATOUSA was inactivated 1 Nov 44, the same date that MTOUSA was activated, 

**Ltr, Commodore Ellery W. Stone, Actg Ch Commissioner, Hq, Allied Commission, to 
G-5, AFHQ, 6 Nov 44 (TS). AFHQ G-5 Film E 276-B ; Note 40, G-l (A), AFHQ, 6 Nov 
44, sub : Political Committee — Use of Italian Prisoners of War in United States Custody as 
Service Units in Italy (S). AFHQ Secretariat Film R 340-C (TS). DRB, TAG. 

1S AFHQ Notes 40 and 41, G-5, Political Committee, 7 and 13 Nov 44, sub : Status of 
Italian Prisoners of War (S). Ibid. 



Italian Army Service Units (ITI) 

Some service units, formed from Italian Army personnel who were 
not prisoners of war, were called U. S.-ITI's and British-ITI's when 
attached to British or American forces. The Italian headquarters of 
these units was subordinate to the American headquarters, but orders 
were transmitted through appropriate Italian channels of command. 46 

In February 1944, a cobelligerent ITI unit was sent to Libya to 
work with volunteer PW units in salvaging airplane engines. Dis- 
sention arose when the ITI unit claimed special privileges not ac- 
corded the volunteer prisoners of war. After the dispute was settled, 
it was ruled that in the future no cobelligerents would be sent to Libya 
or other English-held territory without prior consent of the British. 
It was further decided that both Italian service units and ITI's would 
be given the same privileges when possible. 47 

Release of Individual Prisoners of War to Italian Government 

When NATOUSA first decided to organize Italian service units, it 
also agreed to release individual PW specialists to the Italian Govern- 
ment upon request. In the spring of 1944 this policy was changed. 
The need for skilled labor had so increased that NATOUSA ordered 
any request by the Italian Government for prisoners of war to be 
"discouraged." Instructions issued at the time stated: "hold all 
Italian prisoners not formed into service units at this time in order- 
that their formation into units may be considered." i& 

The Release of Italian Service Units 

In March 1945 MTOUSA proposed that all Italian service units 
either be returned to the control of the Italian Government and used 
by the United States as ITI units or be released outright. The tech- 
nical services objected to this proposal for the following reasons : (1) 
Italian Army units (ITI's) did not measure up to the standards of 
efficiency and discipline obtained from PW service units; (2) PW 
units were trained by IT. S. personnel and were accustomed to Ameri- 
can methods of work; (3) The effectiveness of the ISU's was due in 
part to the scale of issue of clothes, organizational equipment, PX 
rations, and subsistence. It was thought that if they were maintained 

** Ltr, AG, AFHQ, to all concerned,' 16 Not 44, sub : Command and Administration of 
Italian Army. Ibid. 

« Ltr, G-5 Sec, AFHQ, to Hq, Allied Commission 15 Feb 48, sub : Italian Belligerents. 
AFHQ G-5 Film E 817-C. DEB, TAG. 

"a Ltr, G-l (A) to G-l <B), G-3, AF etc,, Eq, NATOUSA, IS Jan 44, sub : Utilization Ot 
Manpower (S). AFHQ G-5 Film K 276— E, DUB, TAG- 



on the lower scale of the ITI's, morale would drop and unsatisfactory 
work would result. 49 

The Engineers considered the conversion of PW units to U. S.-ITTs 
more desirable than their release to civilian status : the organized units 
could, be shifted from job to job with greater ease ; they could be 
authorized organizational equipment; and they could be controlled 
more easily than civilian units. All the technical services requested 
that Allied headquarters retain command authority if the PW units 
were released. 50 

On 1 July 1945, all Italian cooperator prisoners of war (British- 
held) and U. S. Italian service units in Italy, Sardinia, and Sicily 
were released from PW status and were turned over to the Italian 
Government on the following conditions : (1) All PW's released to the 
Italian Government were to be retained in units similar in formation 
and strength to those they formerly belonged to. (2) The Allies re- 
served the right to attach supervisory and technical personnel to the 
Italian units as necessary. (3) Personnel were not to be demobilized 
or transferred without Allied consent. On the request of the Allied 
authorities, however, the Italian Government was to demobilize cer- 
tain selected personnel for voluntary employment with the Allies out- 
side the Italian armed forces. 51 U. S.-ITI's, other than guard, truck, 
and specifically authorized units, were also reduced gradually and 
were replaced with German prisoners of war and civilian labor. 52 

Employment Policies in Regard fo German and Pro-Fascist 

Prisoners of War 

German and insecure Italian prisoners of war were not used on paid 
labor in the Mediterranean theater before the cessation of .hostilities, 
but were evacuated to the United States. By August 1944, when the 
labor situation became acute, NATOUSA anticipated their possible 
use and directed : ". . . under proper guard and security safeguards, 
they [Germans and insecure Italian prisonrs] may be required to 
perform any and all work consistent with their rank, status, and 
physical condition, and in accordance with the requirements of the 
Geneva Co nvention." There is no record, however, that these pris- 

«» Memo, AFHQ G-l to AFHQ 0-5, 13 Mar 45, sub : Proposed Repatriation of Italian 
Prisoners of War in Italy (S) ; Coordinating Route Slip, AFHQ QM to AFHQ G-5 thru 
G-4, 13 Mar 43, sub : Status of Italian PW's in United States Custody and of Italian 
Co operators in British Custody Serving in Italy. Both in AFHQ G-5 Film R 317-C. 

™IM&.; Informal Routing Slip, Engr Sec to Hq, MTOUSA, 15 Mar 45, sub: Italian Pris- 
oners of War in U. S. Custody In Italy ( S ) . Ibid. 

a CM-OUT 71971, Alexander to TAG for CCS, 7 May 45 (S). AFHQ G-5 Film 318-C. 

Dub j TvA.G* 

"Ltr, Hq, MTOUSA, to CG'b, 15 Army Gp, 5th Army, etc., 21 Jun 45, sub: Administra- 
tive Instructions on Change of Status of Italian Prisoners of War in Italy (C). liid. 



oners were ever employed in Italy before the German surrender. 53 
Thus, when MTOTJSA was activated in November 1944, it was pri- 
marily concerned with German prisoners of war and plans had to be 
made accordingly. 

By late 1944, MTOTJSA anticipated the surrender of the opposing 
enemy forces. To make full use of surrendered German service units 
and subunits, it authorized its subordinate commands to use them 
and as much of their equipment, less arms, as was necessary for their 
proper functioning and as was consistent with the Geneva Conven- 
tion. The using command was to furnish adequate guards if large- 
scale employment was anticipated and if screening and division into 
cooperative PW units could not be accomplished before they were 
used. 54 

On 2 May 1945, all enemy forces in Italy surrendered, and the TJ. S. 
Fifth Army became responsible for guarding and administering ap- 
proximately 300,000 PWs and surrendered enemy personnel. As a 
general uniform principle the Allies agreed that enemy personnel in 
army areas who were disorganized and who could not be regrouped 
into their original units would be treated as prisoners of war. Others, 
together with organized units, were to be classified as surrendered 
enemy personnel and placed in final concentration camps. Since this 
would have involved separate administrations, it was finally ruled 
that all disarmed Germans and German PWs would be treated as 
disarmed personnel. 55 Since many of the Italian and German PWs 
were intermixed, it was decided that any PW who claimed German 
nationality and who was wearing an Italian uniform when captured 
would be treated and registered as an Italian PW. Those who wore 
German uniforms when captured and who served in pro-Fascist 
Italian units would be treated as German PWs. The surrendered 
enemy forces constituted a large labor potential, employable under the 
terms of their unconditional surrender on any task desired by Allied 
authorities. This included the preparation and packing of equipment 
for redeployment to the Pacific. 56 

Shortly after the surrender, the commanding general, MTOTJSA, 
directed that all able-bodied German PWs be employed to the maxi- 

63 The working conditions outlined for the PW's closely followed those issued by The 
Provost, Marshal General's Office in ,1942. See : Ltr, Hg, SOS, NATOUSA, to staff, 6 Aug 
44, sub : Administrative Instructions for U. S. Prisoner of War Enclosures in NATOUSA 
(C). AFHQ G-2 CIU Film 78-1 (TS). DRB, TAG; see also: "Administrative Instruc- 
tions for U. S. PW Enclosures in MTOTJSA," op. cit., ch. X; "Civilian Enemy Aliens and 
Prisoners of War," op, cit. 

Bi Ltr, G-2, AFHQ to Hq, AAI, Hq, III Corps, etc., 12 Oct 44, sub: Employment of 
Prisoners of War. AFHQ G-2 Clii Civil Security Sec Film R 500-C. DEB, TAG. 

55 Minutes, Conference, 15th Army Gp, 12 May 45, sub : Disposition of Surrendered 
Enemy Forces. AFHQ Film R 455-F (S) ; msg 53247, TROOPERS to SHAEF AFHQ, 
19 Jun 45 (S). AFHQ Ch Admin Off Film 315-A <TS). DRB, TAG. 

E « AFHQ, Admin. Instructions, 21 May 45, sub : Returns and States — Prisoners of War. 
AFHQ G-2 Clii, Civil Security Sec Film R 452-F ; Cir 64, Hq, Com Z, 13 May 45, sec IV. 
G-l 383.6/3-18, Employment of Enemy Prisoners of War (S). DRB, TAG. 



mum. Those suspected to be war criminals and security risks were 
not to be employed, but recalcitrants (SS troops and rabid Nazis) 
who had been screened from the other prisoners of war could be 
worked under close guard. 57 The manpower situation was critical; 
men and supplies were needed in the Far East, and many American 
soldiers had been returned to the United States for discharge. After 
the release of the Italian service units, two sources of labor were 
available — prisoners of war and civilians. Since the labor had to be 
mobile, subject to discipline, and able to operate with a minimum of 
Allied supervision, prisoner of war labor was preferable. 68 

Establishment of MTOUSA PW Command 

To facilitate PW employment, MTOUSA directed the U. S. Fifth 
Army to organize a MTOUSA prisoner of war command (MTOUSA 
PW Command) to screen, classify, administer, organize, and guard 
all German and Italian Fascist PW's and surrendered units. It was 
also to survey, initiate, and organize projects to insure maximum use 
of all available PW labor. Fifth Army designated the U. S. 88th 
Division (reinforced) as the MTOUSA PW Command, and the di- 
vision organized and dispatched German PW service units to the 
major commands upon request. 

At first, German service units, who were already organized under 
German tables of organization and who were suitable for employment, 
were left intact and were brought to strength with replacements from 
former combat units that had been disbanded. When the manpower 
requirements for the base sections and the Army Air Force Service 
Command, MTO, far exceeded the number of units available, Fifth 
Army permitted the PW Command to form new service companies 
from former enemy combat personnel. War Department tables of 
organization were used, 59 

Repatriation Problems 

In addition to forming new German PW service units, the 
MTOUSA PW Command also had the task of repatriating a mini- 
mum of 100,000 German PW's and surrendered personnel to the U. S.-, 
British-, and French-occupied zones of Germany. On 10 August 
1945, MTOUSA ordered the PW Command to interchange (within 
the German service units) prisoners from the Eussian Zone with those 


f "History of PMGO, 1942-1945," Hq, MTOUSA, op. clt., p. 17. 

13 Notes, Hq, MTOUSA, 24 Sep 45, sub: Conference He: Italian Labor Dispute; Draft, 
GHQ, CMF, to Ch Commissioner, Hq, Allied Commission (undated), sub: Employment of 
German Prisoners of War. Both in AFHQ G-5 Film 318-C. DRB, TAG. 

™ CM-OUT 79612, CG, MTOUSA, to 5th Army, 21 May 45 (S). AFHQ, G>3 Opn Div, 
Film R 108-F; CM-OUT 80840, SACMBD, AFHQ to 15th Army Gp, 24 May 45 (TS). 
AFHQ G-5, Film E 16-L. DEB, TAG; see also: "History of NATOUSA-MTOUSA," op. 
cit., p. 287. 



from the other zones. This was a slow and tedious process. The 
Units had been formed initially without regard to the locality which 
the PW personnel represented, and many units had no records of the 
prisoners' geographical locations. Also, some skilled workers or spe- 
cialists were involved, which required a definite overlap of time for 
on-the-job training of the new unit members. To ease the processing 
for interchange, subcommands sent representatives among the Ger- 
man service units to screen the prisoners. 60 When the interchange 
was completed, the PW's from the Russian Zone were kept in an 
unemployable status. 61 

Equipment of German Service Units 

The new German service units were equipped as much as possible 
from captured German stocks. Where necessary, U. S. equipment, 
formerly used by the Italian service units, was transferred to the Ger- 
mans. MTOUSA also froze all equipment in the theater which be- 
longed to American units being inactivated or redeployed indirectly 
to the Far East and turned it over to the new German service units. 
Because the MTOUSA PW Command was responsible for the prop- 
erty issued to the German units, it was designated as the "parent 
unit." 62 

Command Responsibility 

A major command which was assigned a German service unit by 
the PW command was designated as the "supervisory unit." It as- 
sumed responsibility for the supervision and administration of the 
PW's or surrendered personnel. 63 The major command also fur- 
nished transportation and escort guard to and from the MTOUSA PW 
Command inclosures, which were established within the various base 
sections, and procured and issued supplies to the surrendered enemy 
forces. The "using service," a unit within the major command, issued 
the work orders and supplied the German units with nonexpendable 
items. It was always an Army Service Unit or an Army technical 
service. All matters pertaining to German PW units and work parties 
were referred to the PW Command through liaison officers, and major 

»° Note, BCofS, Hq, MTOUSA PW Cmd, 7 Jun 45, sub : Repatriation of Prisoners of 
War and oil Problems Attended Thereto ; ltr, Hq, MTOUSA to CG, PBS, CG, 5th Army, etc., 
10 Aug 45, sub : Employment of Prisoners of War/ Surrendered Personnel in Italy. Copies 
in AFHQ G-2 Clii, Civil Security See Film It 455-F. DRB, TAG. 

^"History of thePMGO, 1&42-1945," Hq, MTOUSA, op. cit., p. 19. 

63 CM-OUT 79612, CG, MTOUSA to Fifth Army, 21 May 45 (S). AFHQ G-3 Opn Div 
Film R 108-F ; CM-IN 2192, Fifth Army to MTOUSA, 24 May 45 (8). AFHQ G-5 Film 
16-L. DRB, TAG ; Adm Dlr 19, Hq, Fifth Army, 24 Jul 45, sub : 2695th Technical Su- 
pervision Regiment and German Service Units, Labor — German — German Service Units 
(Jun 45-Aug 45 ) . MTOUSA, AG Prisoner Labor File. DPRB, TAG. 

98 Adm Dir 19, Hq, Fifth Army, 24 Jul 45, sub : 2695th Technical Supervision Regiment 
and German Service Units. Labor — German — German Service Units (Jun 45-Aug 45). 
MTOUSA, AG Prisoner Labor File. DPRB, TAG. 



commands could not transfer German service units between one an- 
other without specific approval of the MTOUSA PW Command. 64 

Civilian vs. PW Labor 

Although it was the AFHQ policy to make full use of German 
PW's and surrendered personnel, due consideration was also given 
to its effect on the Italian civilian economy and employment situation. 
To prevent any undue hardship , AFHQ instructed its major com- 
mands to retain all civilians then on the job but to fill any new 
vacancies with PW's or surrendered personnel. Civilian labor only 
was to be used in any Italian business, factory, or other facility used 
for or operated by the Allies, but the civilian labor could be augmented 
with PW labor if necessary. 

Prisoners of war and civilian labor were not intermingled in work 
gangs. They did work on the same jobs, but only where close contact 
could be avoided. On new projects, such as depots and rest areas, 
prisoners of war and surrendered personnel were generally used, but 
only where it did not affect the local civilian employment situation. 
However, Allied authorities were not obliged to hire local civilian 
labor simply because it was available. 65 


German services units worked under token guards, sufficient enough 
to prevent fraternization with civilians and to prevent the PW's from 
taking unauthorized privileges. During daylight hours surrendered 
enemy personnel worked without guards if American work super- 
visors were present. The guards simply made head counts and in- 
spected the work at irregular intervals. 66 


Rapid redeployment of U. S. Army personnel created a scarcity of 
guards for prisoners of war. To offset this, MTOUSA instituted a 
system of parole in September 1945 for PW officers and enlisted men. 67 
The paroled PW's drove vehicles on assigned missions without guards, 
and paroled enemy officers, also without guards, patrolled the routes 
used by the drivers. For over two months, U. S. military police 

91 Ltr, Hq, Peninsular Base See, to distribution, 23 Jun 45, sub : Requests for German 
Prisoner of War Units and Work Parties. AG, Peninsular Base Section, 383.6 Policy 
(1 Jan-31 Dec 45). DPEB, TAG; ltr, Hq, MTOUSA, to CG, PBS, CG, Fifth Army, etc., 
10 Aug 45, sub: Employment of Prisoners of War/Surrendered Personnel in Italy. AFHQ 
G-2 Clii Civil Security Sec Film K 455-F. DEB, TAG. 

66 AFHQ Adm Memo 35, 1 Jul 45, sub : Use of German Prisoners of War and Surrendered 
Personnel. ACC 10000/136/305 Conditions of Surrender, German Forces and Post Sur- 
render — Disposal and Treatment as Prisoners of War, vol. I (Mar-Oct 45). DRB, TAG. 

as Ltr, Hq, MTOUSA, to CG, PBS, CG, Fifth Army, etc., 10 Aug 45, sub: Employment 
of Prisoners of War/Surrendered Personnel in Italy. AFHQ G-2 Clii Civil Security Sec 
Film R 455-F. DRB, TAG. 

37 The using services also authorized limited paroles for work purposes. For a copy 
of the parole form used, see author's file. 



watched for any incident of annoyance to civilians or lack of disci- 
pline on the part of the prisoners, but not one violation was reported. 68 

Recalcitrant Prisoners of War 

Certain PW's (both German and Italian pro-Fascists) who were 
troublemakers and who on occasions refused to work were classified 
as insecure personnel or "recalcitrants." After the surrender, these 
PW's were employed, under adequate guard, only on projects that were 
not technical in nature or which did not afford opportunity for sab- 
otage. American commanders could demote certain recalcitrant Ital- 
ian prisoners to enlisted grades in order to compel them to do useful 
work. This was done administratively through Italian military 
channels. 69 


Initially, Allied forces did not pay surrendered enemy personnel 
for labor but reimbursed them with Wehrsold, a simulated form of 
German Army currency. In July 1946, however, the "War Department 
approved payment of 80 cents a day for labor of American-held sur- 
rendered enemy personnel. Shortly thereafter, as an incentive for 
better work, American authorities permitted the PW's in the Medi- 
terranean theater to transfer credits to their families in ,the British 
and American Zones of Germany. 70 

Rehabilitation Work 

In May 1945, Allied authorities offered the Italian Government the 
use of German prisoners of war and surrendered personnel for rehabil- 
itation work under the following terms : the Germans were to continue 
to be prisoners of the United States and the United Kingdom; they 
were to be administered in large concentration areas by the Allies and 
were to be guarded by Italians ; Italians were to guard the PW's on 
work projects and were to have full supervision of the job; and the 
Italians were to furnish the material and tools to be used. 71 The Ital- 
ian Government accepted these conditions and used German PW's in 

68 Doc, 25 Sep 45, sub: Employment of German PW's. Vol II, Aug 45-Dec 45^ Found 
in AFHQ Film R 318-C. DEB, TAG. 

88 CM-IN W14611, TAG to AFHQ, 9 Jun 45 (C). AFHQ G-5 Film 318-C. DRB, TAG ; 
ltr, AG, AFHQ, to all concerned, 30 Jul 45, sub : 'Recalcitrant' Enemy Personnel — Classi- 
fication and Conditions of Employment. AFHQ G-2 Clii Civil Security Sec Film R 455-F, 

™ Ltr, AG, AFHQ, to all concerned, 8 Aug 45, sub : Organization and Administration of 
German Service Units in Italy and Austria. AFHQ Secretariat Film R 340-C (TS). DRB, 
TAG; msg, CM-OUT, "A" GHQ, CMF to TROOPERS, 6 Jul 46 (S). CAO Film R 317-A 
(TS). DRB, TAG ; ltr, CinC, GHQ, CME, to Under Sec State, 5 Nov 40 (S). AFHQ Sec- 
retariat Film 457-B (TS) . DRB, TAG. 

71 Memo, G-5, AFHQ, to Adm Ellery W. Stone, Cli Commissioner, Hq, Allied Commission, 
IS May 45, AFHQ G-5 Film R 318-C. DRB, TAG. 

338293—55 14 


reconstruction work in Italy, principally to clear minefields, to ex- 
cavate and repair canals, and to work in various mines. 12 

In J une 1945, the War Department extended the area in which Ger- 
man PWs and surrendered personnel could be employed on recon- 
struction work. Although this new area included the entire Mediter- 
ranan area plus France, the United Kingdom, and the Channel Is- 
lands, the enemy personnel could be transferred only under the condi- 
tion that they remained prisoners of war as denned by the Geneva 
Convention. 73 

Labor Troubles 

With the surrender of Japan in August 1945, shipments of material 
from Italy decreased sharply. Consequently, civilian employment 
was curtailed and unemployment became a serious problem. The 
civilian populace resented the continued use of German PWs on jobs 
that could be done by Italian labor; and Italian labor units charged 
the Allies with exploiting the cheap labor of prisoners of war/ 4 
Faced with demonstrations among the civilian populace caused by the 
continued and growing unemployment situation, Gen, Joseph T. 
McNarney restated his policy with respect to the employment of 
German personnel : 

. . . German Prisoner of War Units were organized for the purpose — 
primarily for the purpose of replacing Italian Military and Service Units 
who were assisting United States Armed Forces. It was the desire of the 
Italian Government that the large proportion of these Italian Military Service 
Units be released. It was essential that I continue my mission as given 
me by our Government, which was the redeployment of American Units 
in this Theater and the shipment of large amounts of materials and units 
to the Far East. Therefore in order to permit the release of Italian Military 
Units, I took the available German Prisoners of War and organized them 
into units to replace Italian labor units. At that time I announced the 
policy that these German Service Units were not being organized or author- 
ized for the purpose of displacing Italian civilian workers. However, it is 
possible that in certain instances this policy has not been fully carried out. 
However, it remains my policy, and I will continue to see that German 
Prisoners of War are not used to replace civilian labor, 75 

To alleviate the critical situation, Allied commanders moved German 

73 Ltr, Hq, Allied Commission to G-5, AFHQ, 20 May 45, sub: Employment of German 
Prisoners of War on Italian Rehabilitation, AFHQ G-5, Film 318-C. DEB, TAG; ltr, 
Ch Commissioner, Allied Commission, to G-5, AFHQ, 18 Jun 45, sub : Employment of 
German Prisoners of War. ACC 10000/136/305, Conditions of Surrender, German Forces 
and Post Surrender — Disposal and Treatment as Prisoners of War (vol I) (Mar-Oct 45). 

"CM-IN 12726, TAG to AFHQ, 6 Jun 43 (IS). AFHQ CAO Film 315-A (TS). DUB, 

T1 Ltr, Brig Gen E. B. McKtnley, Actg VP, Hq, Allied Commission, Economic Sec, to 
G-5, AFHQ, Sop 45, sub : Employment of German Prisoners of War. ACC 10000/146/250 
Prisoners of War and Italian Labor. DRB, TAG. 

re Notes, H<j, MTOUSA, 24 Sep 45, sub : Conference Re : Italian Labor Dispute. AFHQ 
G-5 Film E 318-C. DEB, TAG. 



service units from more populated areas and replaced them with local 
civilian labor. In addition, Allied authorities increased the rate of 
repatriation of the German prisoners of war to their homeland. 78 

Labor Performed 

United States agencies in the MTO used a maximum of 119,074 
German and Italian Fascist prisoners of war. 77 The base sections 
employed approximately 65,000; the U. S. Fifth Army, 28,000; and 
the Air Forces and Military Railway Services, 9,500 each. Types 
of work performed by the German PW's varied from the highly skilled 
jobs of repairing and packing radios and motor equipment to such 
unskilled tasks as serving as waiters and attendants in barracks. 78 

Under the surrender terms agreed to by the German authorities, 
enemy forces were to "make available for the Supreme Allied Com- 
mander such military personnel with the necessary equipment, as he 
may require, for the clearance of mines, minefields and other obstacles 
to movement; and such labor as he may require for any purpose." 
[Author's italics.] 70 Besides being used in mine clearance, the PW's 
worked on railway reconstruction, in the reactivation of industrial 
establishments, and in the repair of machinery. They also worked in 
footwear establishments and at such service installations as ordnance 
and quartermaster depots. German service units also worked as truck 
battalions, stevedores, and military police and in the rehabilitation of 
utilities and airfield construction in Italy. 86 

The quality of the work performed by the German service units was 
outstanding. In comparison with the American soldiers in the Medi- 
terranean theater it was said that the German prisoner of war was an 
equal workman; the Italian half the American; and the Arab an 
ineffective laborer. 81 

Discontinuation of MTO USA PW Command 

As more United States troops were redeployed, the 88th Division 
was reassigned to occupational duties in Venezia Giulia. On 24 Sep- 
tember 1945, the MTOUSA PW Command was discontinued, and the 
using commands assumed control of all German service units; the 

™Ltr, CG, Peninsular Base Sec, to CG MTOUSA, 4 Oct 45, sub: Conference re Labor 
Situation at Leghorn. lUd. ; ltr, Hq, MTOUSA to CG, PBS, 24 Sep 4B, sub : Employment 
of Prisoners of War. AFHQ G-2 Clii, Civil Security Sec Film R 456-P. DEB, TAG. 

77 This total does not include U. S.-ITI's who were not prisoners of war. 

*• "Logistical History of NATOUSA -MTOUSA," op. cit., p. 288. 

79 Document, Mediterranean Joint Planning Staff, AFHQ, 7 Apr 45, sub : Machinery for 
Enforcement Of Enemy Surrender in Italy. ACC 10000/136/305. Conditions of Sur- 
render, German Forces and Post Surrender — Disposal and Treatment as Prisoners of War 
(vol. I) (Mar-0ct45). DRB, TAG. ■ 

80 Ltr, G-5, AFHQ, to Hq, Allied Commission, 10 Jul 45, sub: Use of German Prisoners 
of War and Surrendered Personnel. AFHQ G-5 Film R 818-C. DRB, TAG ; ltr. Brig 
Gen E. B. McKinley to G-5, AFHQ, Sep 45, sub : Employment of German Prisoners of 
War. ACC- 10000/146/250 Prisoners of War. DRB, TAG. For other jobs see: AFHQ 
G-5 Film R 318-C and AFHQ Supreme Secretariat Film E 340-C (TS). DRB, TAG. 

si "Logistical History of NATOUSA-MTOUSA," op, cit., p. 288. 



Peninsular Base Section at Naples was responsible for repatriating 
surplus Germans released by the using commands. With the closing 
of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, The European Theater 
of Operations became responsible for all remaining MTOUSA-held 
prisoners of war and surrendered enemy personnel. 82 

Other Nationals 

During the war many soldiers of a state of origin other than Ger- 
many were found in German uniform among German prisoners of 
war. Therefore when Allied forces captured these prisoners they 
segregated them by nationalities. The individual PW was then inter- 
rogated by representatives of his country's government in exile. If 
acceptable to that government and if he was willing, the PW was sent 
to Great Britain for service in an army unit of his national govern- 
ment. If the PW was rejected, he was treated in all respects as a 
German prisoner of war. 33 

With the surrender of German forces and with the close of the 
European war, former units of the Czechoslovakian and Austrian 
Armies and other such troops found serving in the German Army be- 
came available for labor. They were used, after screening and on a 
volunteer basis, on railway reconstruction work, military police work, 
and as interpreters and clerks. 34 

It soon became necessary to reverse the policy of full employment 
of German PW's and surrendered personnel in labor units. Repatria- 
tion quotas had to be met; the theater work load was reduced; and 
the objections of Italian civilians to PW employment were increasing. 
Ceilings were set on the number of prisoners of war to be retained for 
labor, and from a peak employment of 114,000, a ceiling of 80,000 was 
set for 1 October 1945 and 45,000 by 1 December 1945. The reduction 
was accomplished principally by transferring surplus units to the 
newly activated United States Forces European Theater (USFET), 
which eventually assumed responsibility for all prisoners of war> 5 


Throughout the Mediterranean campaign, there was a definite 
shortage of service troops. With the landing in North Africa, a lack 

^Ibid. ; msg, CM-IN 13427, AFHQ to Hq, Com Z, NATOUSA, 27 Jtin 45. SGS 383 6/3, 
vol. 2, No. 35638 (C). DEB, TAG; CM-OUT 30902, COMGENMED to PBS, Fifth Army, 
etc., 1 Aug 4B. AFHQ G-2 Clii Civil Security Sec Film R 455-F DRB TAG 

83 Ltr, AG, Hq, SOS, NATOUSA, to CG, NATOUSA, 11 Apr 44, sub : Foreign Manpower : 
Prisoners of War (Italian, Yugo-Slav and German) ; AFHQ Admin Memo 60, 14 Dec 44, 
sub: Disposal of Prisoners of War of Non-German 'Nationality. Both in AFHQ G-2 Clii 
Film 452-F <S). DRB, TAG. 

« Conference Minutes, Hq, 15th Army Gp, 12 May 45, sub: Disposition of Surrendered 
Enemy Forces. AFHQ G-2 Clii, Civil Security Sec Film R 455-F (S): DRB, TAG ; see 
also: AFHQ G-5 Film R 318-C. Employment of Austrian Prisoners of War (S) 

& "History of the PMGO, 1942-1945," Hq, MTOUSA, op ctt., PM Sec, p. 20. 



of service personnel made it necessary to use combat troops and ineffec- 
tive local labor to handle supplies. A limited number of prisoners 
of war were also used to ease the situation. With the surrender of the 
enemy at Tunisia, the policy of evacuating all PWs from the theater 
was changed to that of using some Italian prisoners where needed. 

When Italy changed from an enemy to a cobelligerent, a policy of 
using Italian PW's to further aid in the war against Germany was 
adopted. Allied authorities permitted them to volunteer for service 
in units organized along U. S. service troop lines, but staffed with 
Italian officers and noncommissioned officers. Marshal Badoglio, head 
of the provisional Italian Government, by proclamation approved and 
encouraged this action ; and this proclamation ultimately formed the 
basis of allied use of such labor in operations directly connected with 
the pursuit of the war, not only in North Africa but in Italy and south- 
ern France as well. 

As a general practice during the African campaign, U. S. combat 
forces operated with their own service troops, and the communications 
zone used what was left, supplemented with civilian labor and PW 

Italian PW units helped to support the invasion of southern France. 
This, in turn, created a shortage of service personnel in the Mediter- 
ranean theater, which necessitated the formation of new PW service 
units. ' The invasion of southern France also caused another policy 
change. Initially, Italian service units were not used on the Italian 
mainland; but to support Allied combat forces in Italy and to replace 
service units ordered to southern France, 15,000 Italian PWs had to be 
ordered to Italy. These were returned to the control of the Italian 
Government on 1 July 1945. 

Before Germany surrendered in May 1945, only a few German 
prisoners of war were employed. With the surrender, German serv- 
ice units were kept intact, and new service units were formed from 
the personnel of former combat units. To govern and control all Ger- 
man personnel, a MTOUSA PW Command was activated. Under 
the surrender terms, German PW's and surrendered personnel were 
used on all labor desired by the Allied supreme commander. 

Generally the work performed by the Italian and German service 
units corresponded to that of their American counterparts. Ports of 
embarkation units, stevedoring units, QM depot units, laundry and 
bakery units, and others normally at a premium in a combat theater 
were formed from the prisoners of war. All in all, approximately 438 
Italian, German, and service units of other nationalities were used 
in the Mediterranean Theater. 

It is possible that the effective use of P W labor in the Mediterranean 
Theater hastened the fall of Germany. Without the use of Italian 
service units, American troops, eventually used in the invasion of 



France, would have had to be diverted to North Africa and Italy. 
Without the use of such units, it would have been impossible to sus- 
tain both the Italian campaign and the invasion of southern France at 
the same time. Without the use of German prisoner of war units, val- 
uable material and troops could not have been deployed to the Far 
East as rapidly as it was. And without the use of PW units, rehabili- 
tation of war-torn countries would have been delayed. 

Chapter 14 
The Middle East 

Prisoner of war operations were of minor significance in the Middle 
East since it was not a combat area for American forces. U. S. 
installations, however ; did become the using agencies for British-held 
prisoners of war. 

At the beginning, the Office of the Provost Marshal, United States 
Armed Forces in the Middle East (USAFIME), at Cairo, Egypt, 
handled all PW matters. 1 In early 1943, USAFIME did not antici- 
pate the capture of many prisoners of war in this area and did not 
build any PW inclosures. Instead, arrangements were made with the 
British Forces in the Middle East (MEF) whereby all PW's captured 
by American forces would be turned over to British control, subject to 
the limits of their capacity. 

In August 1943, the War Department notified USAFIME of the 
new War Department policy regarding the custody and responsi- 
bility for prisoners of war. In operations involving joint British and 
American forces, the party initially capturing the PW's was to notify 
the protecting power and the International Red Cross according to 
the Geneva Convention. Each nation, after the initial documentation, 
was to assume responsibility for one-half the total number of pris- 
oners of war captured, after the deduction of any PW's captured by 
a third ally. All U. S. -captured PW's, less those retained for labor 
were to be shipped to the Zone of the Interior. This initial process- 
ing and notification of the protecting power was not to hinder a 
subsequent interstate transfer of the PW's for permanent custody nor 
the fixing of permanent responsibility. 

Use of Prisoner of War Labor 

Shortly thereafter the War Department authorized the retention of 
prisoners of war for labor, and American authorities informally ar- 

1 MS, "History of Africa-Middle East Theater, United States Army (including 
USMNAM and USAFIME), to 1 Jan 1946," sees. III-PM-a (subsec : Prisoners of War), 
e and g. 8-7.1 AAv.4. OCMH, Gen Ref Off. Unless otherwise cited, all material can be 
found in this text and inclosures. For the organization of USAFIME, see : T. H. Vail 
Hotter, The Middle East Theater: The Persian, Corridor and Aid to Russia in UNITED 
STATES ABMY IN WORLD WAR II ( Washington, 1952), chart 1, appendix B. 




ranged with the British to use certain British-held Italian PWs at 
Camp Ataka and Deversoir Air Depot, XJ. S. installations in Egypt. 
These arrangements were necessary because the American forces did 
not have their own inclosures and the United States did not have 
an agreement with the Egyptian Government which would permit 
American-captured PWs to be imported into Egypt from another 
theater. The borrowed prisoners were to be paid by American forces 
at the British wage scale for PW labor. 

In December 1943, when it was determined that additional British- 
held PWs would not be available, USAFIME attempted to obtain 
PW labor from U. S. bases in North Africa, and after much effort, 
the Island Base Section, Mediterranean Theater of Operations, 
promised to deliver 250 Italian prisoners of war. The USAFIME 
provost marshal proposed to use these prisoners as needed, restricting 
their freedom of movement to the limits of the American PW camps 
until a final policy ruling could be determined. He also proposed 
that they be paid the American wage rate of 80 cents a day, credited 
to their account. 

When the British were notified of the proposed plan for the in- 
coming prisoners-, they objected to the payment of the American wage 
standard, and since the United States did not have an agreement with 
Egypt which would permit the importation of prisoners of war, com- 
plications arose. American forces had to transfer PWs first to British 
control, and they in turn brought them in under an existing agreement 
between Egypt and Great Britain. U. S. forces then requested the 
prisoners from the British. 

USAFIME asked the American minister to Egypt, Mr. Alexander 
Kirk, to obtain a treaty agreement with the Egyptian Government, 
similar to the one the British had, that wquld permit American-held 
PWs and ISU's to enter the country. The American minister, in his 
cable to the State Department, objected to the proposal for the fol- 
lowing reasons: (1) the Egyptian Government might consider such 
a move directed toward the reduction in native labor employed by the 
U. S. Army; (2) possible international complications might, result if 
the PWs escaped; and (3) Mr. Kirk doubted the propriety of using 
prisoners of war in a nonbelligerent country which was occupied by 
permission and not by request. As a result of Mr. Kirk's objections, 
the War Department notified the commanding general, USAFIME, 
that any Italian service units sent to the theater would replace corre- 
sponding U. S. units. Since USAFIME did not desire to lose any 
troops but only wanted supplemental labor, it was agreed that the 
Italian PWs would be transferred to the British for administrative 
control and supply, a step which would permit the War Department 
replacement regulation to be bypassed. No further diplomatic ac- 



tion was taken with the Egyptian Government with regard to the 
importation of prisoners of war. 2 

Subsequently, on 12 April 1944, 251 Italian prisoners of war arrived 
at Port Said, Egypt, from the Island Base Section and were immedi- 
ately turned over to British control. American units then obtained 
the PW's for labor and, since they were under British administrative 
control, paid them the desired British scale. 

On 3 J une 1944, the British announced a new policy, effective 1 June 
1944, that increased the basic pay rate for Italian PW "Cooperators" 
(prisoners with a status similar to Italian service unit personnel em- 
ployed by the American forces in the Mediterranean Theater of Op- 
erations) and abolished a separate labor pay for such prisoners. The 
Cooperators were paid by the British. PW's who refused to volunteer 
as Cooperators continued to be paid as before by the United States at 
the existing British labor wage scale. The pay policy change that 
applied to the Cooperators did not affect their retention for employ- 
ment by the American command. 

Generally, prisoners of war used for labor by American forces in 
the Middle East were located in Egypt. In July 1944, the Persian 
Gulf Command proposed to import Italian PW's into Iran. Since 
they would have replaced certain Negro service units, the War De- 
partment rejected the proposal because it violated the policy which 
required each theater commander to maintain a certain percentage of 
Negro troops in proportion to all other troops. 3 Therefore the Gulf 
Command did not use prisoner of war labor. 

The types of labor performed by American-employed prisoners of 
war in USAFIME included the following : 




Boiler operators. 


Cabinet makers. 

Cable splicers. 


Cement finishers. 



Crane operators. 
Dental clinic helpers. 

Fire mechanics. 
General utility workers. 
General laborers. 
Hospital orderlies. 
Kitchen help. 
Laundry workers. 
Medical attendants. 
Optical repairmen. 
Pipe fitters. 



PX details. 

Eoad construction 

Spray and sign 


Tent repairmen. 




Welders. 4 

a DF, WD G-l to CofS, 22 Apr 44, sub: Assigning Italian prisoner of war service units 
to Middle East-Central Africa Theater (C). ASF 383.6 Italian Service Units (1 Feb 44). 
DRB, TAG; see also: Case 218, OPD 383.6 (sec. VI) (S). DUB, TAG. 

s Motter, op. cit„ p. 246. 

*See: Weekly Prisoner of War Labor Reports. AG 383.6 Prisoners of War (1944) 
Africa-Middle Bast Theater. DPKB, TAG. 



Establishment of the Africa-Middle East Theater 

Effective 1 March 1945, USAFIME was redesignated the Africa- 
Middle East Theater (AMET), and the territory formerly known 
as Mediterranean Base Section (MBS) was added. This newly ac- 
quired territory was soon designated as the North African Service 
Command (NASCA). 

With the addition of MBS, many American-held prisoners of war ; 
mainly personnel of Italian service units, were acquired and became 
the responsibility of the AMET provost marshal. He, in turn, dele- 
gated the authority for all routine PW matters, including repatria- 
tion, to the commanding officer of the newly designated North African 
Service Command. To continue the employment of the newly ac- 
quired prisoners of war, AMET adopted the existing "Administra- 
tive Instructions on IT. S. Prisoner of War Enclosures in 
NATOUSA," as amended by MTOUSA through 28 February 1945. 
The new Africa-Middle East Theater also reiterated the acceptance 
of British policy in respect to the American employment of British- 
held prisoners of war. 

In June 1945, Italy and the governments of the United States and 
the British Commonwealth of Nations reached an agreement whereby 
all II. S.-held Italian service unit personnel and British-held Italian 
Cooperators would be released to the Italian Government on 1 July 
1945 provided that such units would not be demobilized without the 
approval of the Allied governments. In July 1945, Great Britain 
assumed responsibility for repatriating British-held noncooperative 
PW's employed by the American forces. These prisoners, as they 
became surplus to U. S. labor requirements, were picked up by the 
British forces. By 31 August 1945, the British had completed ar- 
rangements to release all cooperating prisoners of war in the Middle 
East. Consummation of these two steps ended the employment of 
prisoners of war, as such, by the United States forces in the Africa- 
Middle East Theater. 6 


United States forces operating in the Middle East turned all cap- 
tured enemy personnel over to the British for control. When the War 
Department authorized the retention of prisoners of war for labor, 
USAFIME obtained them from the British, paying them according' 
to the British scale for labor. 

6 CM— OUT 71971, AFHQ to AG, WD, for CCS, 7 May 45 (S) ; ltr, Hq, MTOUSA, to 
CG's, 15th Army Gp, Fifth Army, otc, 21 Jun 45, sub: Administative Instructions on 
Change of Status of Italian Prisoners of War in Italy (C). Both in AFHQ G— 5 Film 
E318-C(S). DKB, TAG. 



In 1945, the Mediterranean Base Section was added to the Middle 
East Theater, and the entire area was redesignated the Africa-Middle 
East Theater. With the acquisition of this base the U. S. forces as- 
sumed responsibility for many prisoners of war, mainly organized 
Italian service units. American-held prisoners thus acquired were 
employed under existing NATOTJSA-MTOUSA regulations which 
were., adopted by the Africa-Middle East Theater. In other parts of 
the Middle East, after the establishment of the new theater, British- 
held prisoners of war used for labor by U. S. forces were employed as 
before under the British regulations. 

PW employment in the Middle East was restricted in general to 
Egypt. All cooperative Italian PWs in the theater were returned 
to the control of the Italian government on 1 July 1945, and the non- 
cooperatives were released approximately two months later. 

Chapter 15 
The European Theater 

The Planning Period 

Shortly after withdrawing its troops from France in 1940, Great 
Britain began to plan for a return to the Continent, But this plan- 
ning lagged until a combined British-American organization, 
COSSAC, 1 was formed in April 1943. COSSAC's principal mission 
was to create a plan for a "full scale assault against the Continent in 
1944." 2 

With respect to prisoners of war, COSSAC planned to evacuate all 
captured enemy personnel to the United Kingdom during the initial 
stages of the invasion, for at least 30 days. When PW camps were 
opened in the theater of operations (sometime after D + 30) some PW's 
would then be retained for labor. s This was the earliest preinvasion 
plan :f or prisoner of war labor on the Continent. 

"With the creation of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expedition- 
ary Forces (SHAEF) in January 1944, the COSSAC plans were ab- 
sorbed into the final plans used in June 1944 — operation 

Prisoner of War Planning for OVERLORD 


The objective of operation OVERLORD was not to defeat the 
enemy in northwest Europe but to seize and develop an administra- 
tive base from which final offensive operations could be launched. 
The provost marshal, European Theater of Operations (ETOUSA) , 
directed the establishment of a Provost Marshal Section, Forward 
Echelon, Communications Zone (Com Z) to develop, in liaison with 
the provost marshal, 21 Army Group (British), a practical plan for 

1 COSSAC derived its name from the title of its commander — the Chief of Staff to the 
Supreme Allied Command (Designate). 

* Roland G. Ruppenthal, Logigtipal Support of the Armies in UNITED STATES ARMS 
IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1833) , p. 177, 

3 War Office, itr 22, 8 Dec 43, sub : COSSAC Movement (UK) Committee. Opn Rpts, 
Staff Provost Marshal, PI 113 (S). DRB, TAG. 

*The code name OVERLORD eventually came to apply only to a general concept of the 
Continental invasion. For security reasons, an additional code, name NEPTUNE was 
adopted to refer, to the specific operation. See : Ruppenthal, op, cit., p. 175. 




provost marshal operations and activities for the first 90 days of the 
operation. 5 The theater provost marshal, however, was responsible 
for the U. S. overall planning and for special supervision in the han- 
dling of prisoners of war. 6 [See chart 11} The development of the 
plan involved effective and constant liaison with the provost marshal 
of an advance section of the Communications Zone (ADSEC) and 
the base sections that were to move to the Continent. 

Chart 11. Prison of War Responsibility, January 194b- 








1 • "■" 












(COM Z) 


In early 1944, representatives of the PM Section, ADSEC, pro- 
ceeded on an observer mission to the North Africa theater and to the 
IT. S. Fifth Army to study policies and procedures used in military 
police activities. Based on the information received, provision was 

E Despite broad grants of authority to 21 Army Group which was to control the assault 
phase of OVERLORD, SHAEF reserved a large number of administrative duties for itself, 
among which was the coordination of policy for prisoners of war. ETOUSA assumed the 
role of an administrative headquarters for U. S. forces on the Continent. See : Forrest 
C. Pogue, The Supreme Command in UNITED STATES AEMY IN WORLD WAR II 
(Washington, 1954), p. 65; see also: Ruppenthal, op. tit., p. 201; MS, "History of the 
Theater Provost Marshal, ETOUSA, 31 Dec 43-1 Oct 44" (hereafter cited as "His- 
tory . . . PM, ETOUSA"), sec Forward Echelon, p. 1 (S). Adm Pile, Provost Marshal 
History. DRB, TAG. 

B General Board Studies 103, 104, 105, and 106. OCMH, Gen Ref Off. 



made for escort guard companies. Plans were also made for three 
types of prisoner of war inclosures on the Continent : central ill- 
closures, branch labor inclosures of 500 capacity, and evacuation 
inclosures. 7 

To determine the size of the labor inclosures, the technical service 
branch chiefs were asked to study the matter of PW employment and 
to make an estimate of their need for prisoner labor in the period 
D-day to D + 90. Paragraph 104 of Filed Manual 27-10 was to govern 
the enemy employment : "Work done by prisoners of war shall have no 
direct relations with the war operations. It is prohibited both to em- 
ploy prisoners for manufacturing or transporting arms and ammuni- 
tion of any kind or for transporting material intended for combat 
units. . . 

Some services estimated that they would have no use for this labor 
in France until base section PW installations were established to proc- 
ess and administer the captured enemy personnel. Because of this and 
because Allied commanders concluded that the necessity for military 
mobility would make elaborate handling of prisoners of war unfeasi- 
ble, the invasion plan adopted the principle of evacuation in the first 
phase and the use of civilian labor on the Continent during this period. 
In conformity with this policy, the Prisoner of War Division, Provost 
Marshal Section, ADSEC, was initially assigned only enough person- 
nel to carry out the evacuation program, although it was responsible 
for the ultimate supervision of security, administration, and employ- 
ment of prisoners of war. 8 

The PW plan adopted for U. S. forces in operation OVEELOED 
contained briefly the following basic policies : 

1. During the period D to D + 30, phase I, the PW's would be evacu- 
ated to the United Kingdom on LST's. Initially this was to be 
through beach inclosures established by the U. S. First Army and later 
through evacuation enclosures to be constructed in the vicinity of St. 
Malo and Cherbourg. 

2. During the period D + 31 to D + 90, phases II and III, those PW's 
who were not retained for labor would be evacuated. 

3. The determination of PW ownership was to be accomplished at 
that step in the processing when a permanent prisoner of war number 
was assigned. 

4. PW's shipped directly to the United States or retained for labor 
on the Continent were to be processed at Communications Zone section 
inclosures. Those shipped to the United Kingdom would be processed 

t "History . . . PM, ETOUSA," sub-see ADSEC, pp. 1 and 2; and PW DIv. 

ziMd., PW Div, p. 29; see also: MS "Operations History of the Advance Section, Com- 
munications Zone, ETOUSA" (hereafter cited as "Operations History, ADSEC, Com. Z"), 
p. 236. Opns Rpte Adm 5S3 Sec E. DKB, TAG. 



5. The commanding general, Forward Echelon, Com Z, was to 
designate the number of PWs to be retained on the Continent for 
labor and the date from which they might be retained. 9 

The commanding general of the Forward Echelon, Com Z, was also 
responsible to direct ". . . the proper reception, guarding, processing, 
and evacuation of prisoners of war retained within the Communica- 
tions Zone on th& Continent and their evacuation to either the UK or 
US." 10 The provost marshal of the Forward Echelon was. to main- 
tain technical supervision over the prisoners and the PW inclosures 
on the Continent. The provost marshals of the Com Z sections (base 
sections) were to exercise technical supervision over those prisoners 
of war and inclosures located within their respective section. 11 

Since ADS EC would be the active logistical headquarters in phases 
I and II, D to D + 40, it was responsible for the PW evacuation pro- 
gram, and, in conformity with this policy, was assigned only such 
personnel as was necessary to carry it out. On 14 May 1944, with the 
publication of the PW program for the Communications Zone, 
ADSEC received the first suggestion that it might be necessary to 
retain prisoners of war for labor in its area. The plan indicated 
three 1,000-man labor camps would be established in the GRAN- 
VILLE-MORTAIN-AVRANCHES area. At no previous time had 
there been an indication that a large number would be required. 12 

ADSEC immediately requested that Com Z provide the necessary 
processing personnel. In turn Com Z was notified that the first proc- 
essing personnel would be phased in at D+48 after Com Z became op- 
erative on the Continent. Com Z also instructed ADSEC to send the 
PWs back to a base section for processing or Com Z would attach 
processing personnel temporarily to screen the contemplated 3,000 
prisoners. 13 

Since it had not expected to use prisoners of war at such an early 
date, ADSEC had given little consideration to the quantities of sup- 
plies and subsistence needed to maintain the PWs on a scale required 
by the Geneva Convention. It did not have access to existing stocks 
of record forms ; and, more important, shipping schedules in the first 
phase of operations did not allow for changes in the shipment of 
supplies should new conditions create the need for them. 14 

Employment Policies 

In April 1944, SHAEF issued its policy governing the employ- 
ment of prisoners of war in operation OVERLORD : PWs were not 

9 Annex 19 to Com Z Plan, Hq, Fwd Eeh, Com Z, ETOUSA, sub : Communications Zone 
Prisoners of War Plan, pp. 3-4 (S). AG 370.2, 12th Army Group. DRB, TAG. 

10 ma, p. i. 
m ma. 

12 Ibid. ; see also : "Operations History, ADSEC, Com Z," op, ext., p. 237. 

13 "Operations History. ADSEC, Com Z," op. cit., pp. 237-38. 

« ma. 



to be employed within 12 miles of the nearest organized enemy forces, 
nor at any establishment within the Communications Zone which 
would constitute a legitimate military objective for hostile aircraft. 
They could be used at military establishments within the Communica- 
tions Zone on the types of work permitted by the Geneva Convention, 
provided adequate provision was made for their protection from 
enemy air attacks. It prohibited compulsory degrading work, and 
employment on menial tasks except when incidental to the operation 
of a PW camp. 

Certain types of work were recommended for the prisoners of war : 
,1. Construction, maintenance, and repair of roads, railroads, public 
utilities, and other projects not used primarily for active military 

2. Construction and repair of buildings not employed directly in 
support of active military operations. 

3. Employment in factories, provided the products were not "arms 
and munitions of any kind." 

4. Employment in agriculture, forestry, mines, quarries, and similar 

5. Any labor required for the internal administration of a prisoner 
of war camp. 

6. Street cleaning, demolition clearance, and other public services. 

7. Employment as mechanics on vehicles or equipment not destined 
for combatant use. 

This list was not all-inclusive and was only intended as a guide for 
those responsible for PW employment. 15 These provisions were incor- 
porated into the prisoner of war program for the Communications 

Use of Prisoners of War in the United Kingdom 

A shortage of common labor forced U. S. troops to employ a limited 
number of PWs in the United Kingdom prior to D-day, but only 
after permission had been secured from British authorities. , On 28 
June 1944, however, Maj. Gen. E. C. Gepp, Director of Prisoners of 
War, British War Office, informed the theater provost marshal that 
the British Government had no objection to unlimited TJ. S. Army 
employment of prisoners of war in the United Kingdom provided: 
First, British security regulations were complied with ; second, Ger- 
man prisoners falling within the category of ardent Nazis, members 
of submarine crews, and Luftwaffe personnel were not used ; and third, 

lt! Ltr, Hq, SHAEP, for distribution, 11 Apr 44, sub: Employment of Prisoners of 
War — Operation OVERLORD (S). AG 383.6 12th Army Gp., Prisoners of War (vol. III>. 
DBB, TAG. This document is the underlying directive for prisoner of war employment in 
the European theater. See also : MS, "The Administrative and Logistical History of the 
ETO," pt. IX, p, 276. 8-3.1 AA9C1. OCMH, Gen Ttef Off. 



prisoners of war were kept in a base camp surrounded by wire when 
not at work and were guarded while at work. 16 

Meanwhile, the labor situation in the United Kingdom became more 
actute as D-day approached. A shortage of civilian and military 
manpower hampered the performance of the many routine tasks con- 
nected with the preparation of an invasion force. Boxcars had to be 
unloaded ; supplies uncrated and stacked in warehouses ; and salvaged 
material reclaimed. And a definite shortage of service troops existed. 
Service units bound for France to support combat units were unable 
to perform useful service during the period they were in staging areas 
or en route, and many units from the United States did not arrive 
in time to help with the invasion . 1 1 

Italian Service Units in the United Kingdom 

By May 1944, the quartermaster service greatly needed an increase 
of nonmilitary labor; but out of a needed 8,000 men, the British 
Ministry of Labor could furnish only approximately one-half. In 
view of this, the chief quartermaster proposed to make up the differ- 
ence with Italian PW service units, a source of labor not originally 
included in the plans of the European theater although the North 
African theater had formed many such units and had employed them 
successfully. 18 Gr-1 concurred, and on 16 May 1944, following a 
conference with the theater provost marshal, ETOUSA dispatched a 
cable to the War Department requesting advice as to whether 
NATOUSA could supply 7,000 Italian PW's to relieve the manpower 
shortage in the European Theater. 19 On 27 May, the War Department 
approved and stated that PW units could be organized, trained, and 
used in war work against Germany except for actual combat. It 
further stated that such Italian service units could be used in any 
service capacity, except employment in the combat zone. 20 

In June 1944, the two headquarters concerned made arrangements 
for movement of the units ; and on 5 July 1944, the first group of 16 
Italian officers and 1,113 noncommissioned officers and enlisted men 
arrived in England where they were assigned to the Southern Base 
Section. By the end of July, 36 Italian service units, comprising 5,004 
men, were in England performing tasks that otherwise would have 

™ "Administrative and Logistical History Of ETO," op. cit., p. 277 ; see also : "History 
of . . . PM, ETOUSA," PW Div, p. 26. 

""Administrative and Logistical History of ETO," op. Cit., p. 267 ; "History , . . PM, 
ETOUSA," PW Div, p. 31. 

M "Administrative and Logistical History o£ ETO," op. cit., p. 268. 

i>Memo, DcpACofS, G-l, to ACofS, OPD, 18 May 44. Sub: Italian Service Units for 
UK (Reference CftHN-11978 [16 May 44]. (S). Copy in Case 256, OPD 383.6 {See. 
VIII) (Cases 251-274), DRB, TAG, 

2»CM-IN W-43261, TAG to ETOUSA, 27 May 44 (S). No. 35619 in SHAEF SGS 
386.6/2 Employment of Prisoners of War Regulations and Policy. DRB, TAG, 

338293—55 15 



required the services of American troops. By November 1944, 44 
Italian service units were in the United Kingdom. 151 

With the acquisition of Italian service units, the War Department 
. did not require the European theater to reduce the overall strength of 
American units. Instead, it permitted an increase in the theater troop 
ceiling as well as in the ratio of service troops. When an Italian serv- 
ice unit became capable of performing the duties of a similar Amer- 
ican unit, the War Department granted permission to deactivate the 
TJ. S. unit to permit the formation of another type unit from the per- 
sonnel released. 22 

Italian service units proved more desirable than ordinary PW units 
as they could be employed more widely. However, there were four 
specific prohibitions on their employment in the European theater: 
(1) They eould not be employed in actual combat; (2) they could not 
be placed near ordinary prisoners of war; (3) they could not work 
with classified materials ; (4) they could not be employed where there 
was a threat of capture by the enemy. 23 

When they arrived in the United Kingdom, Italian service units 
became the responsibility of the commanding general, Communica- 
tions Zone, who assigned them to base sections in the same manner as 
U. S. units. The PW's were designated cooperators and were accorded 
more privileges than were given ordinary prisoners of war. All mat- 
ters pertaining to such Italian cooperators came under the charge of 
ETOUSA, G-l. Only if a cooperator was relegated to the status of 
an ordinary PW by the commanding general, Communications Zone 
(acting on a recommendation of a U. S. unit commander and approved 
by the base section commander concerned) did the theater provost 
marshal enter into the handling or custody of such personnel. If this 
were done, the using service delivered the former cooperator to a Com 
Z PW enclosure where the theater provost marshal assumed custody 
and responsibility. 24 

Prisoners of war in Italian service units in the United Kingdom 
received the same labor pay as that received by similar units in the 
United States and in the North African Theater of Operations— a fact 
that later brought U. S. forces into conflict with British authorities. 
Using services were more than satisfied with the performance of the 
Italian service units and sought to have still more of them transferred 
to the United Kingdom. Later, however, at the request of the British 
Government, American forces removed all Italian units from the 
United Kingdom because of a conflict over pay rates. 25 

21 "Administrative and Logistical History of BTO," op. cit, pp 269-70 
J*JMd., p. 270 ; CM-IN W-48874, TAG to SHAEF, 10 Jun 44 (S). No. 35608 in SHAEF 
MjS 383.0/2 Employment of Prisoners of War Regulations and Policy. DRB TAG 

23 "Administrative and Logistical History of ETO," op. clt., p 269 

M "History . ; . PM, ETOUSA," PW Div, p. 32, 

* See : Case 324, OPD 383.6 (Sec. X) . DRB, TAG. 



The Invasion of France 

On 6 June 1944, the invasion of France began. ADSEC, attached 
to and in support of the U. S. First Army, began evacuating the PWs 
with a view to complete clearance of such personnel from the beach in- 
cisures every 24 hours. 23 On Utah Beach, a temporary PW inclosure 
was established and evacuation began on the first evening. One cor- 
poral and four privates, none of them trained for the task, ran 
the inclosure throughout the night. On Omaha Beach, ADSEC estab- 
lished a temporary PW inclosure to hold the 66 prisoners captured 
on D-day, but moved them on 8 June to a permanent inclosure safe 
from enemy attack while awaiting outshipment. 

ADSEC was responsible for the prisoners of war not only for the 
invasion but also until the establishment of a rear boundary by First 
Army. At such time, Forward Echelon, Com Z, was to assume 
responsibility. Although this was orginally planned to happen be- 
tween D + 15 or 20, First Army never declared an army rear boundary 
because of crowded conditions. Consequently, ADSEC retained re- 
sponsibility for PWs until Com Z landed on 7 August, 27 

Beachhead Employment of Prisoners of War 

After the fighting had moved inland, First Army commanders em- 
ployed as many PWs as possible on labor details within and without 
the inclosures while awaiting their evacuation. These were placed 
under the control of their own noncommissioned officers. Because of 
the constant need for the collection and burial of the dead, PWs 
worked at the American Cemetery No. 1 near Omaha Beach. Details 
of prisoners, frequently furnished to the First Army medical bat- 
talions at evacuation hospitals, acted as litter bearers and as trench 
diggers to bury waste. Approximately 40 PWs were also assigned 
to each evacuation hospital. These were guarded by two armed guards 
furnished by the provost marshal. 28 

At first, U. S. commanders filled PW labor requisitions from their in- 
closure only when the period for labor was 12 hours or less, as First 
Army desired to hold PWs at army level only for a minimum length 
of time after reception until facilities permitted their evacuation to 
the Communications Zone. An exception was made to this rule at the 
request of the army surgeon, and PWs were provided for labor in 
hospitals for periods up to one month. Later, First Army was author- 
s' "Administrative and Logistical History of ETO," op. ott., pt. VI, pp. 104-05 (S) ; see 
also: "Operation Report NEPTUNE, Omaha Beach, 26 Fecruary-26 June 1944," Pro- 
visonal Engineer Special Brigade Group, 30 Sep 44, p. 346 (C). Copy in author's file. 
57 Ruppenthal, op. cit., pp. 433-36, 
Ibid., pp. 349-50; see also: "First United States Army: Report of Operations, 20 
October 1943-1 August 1044," Annex 4, pp. 81-82 ; Annex 15, pp. 17-18. 2-1.3 v.4 cy 1 
OCMH, Gen Ref Off. 



ized to retain prisoners of war, including enemy medical personnel, 
for a temporary period not to exceed seven days. Permanent PW 
labor was to be requisitioned from Communications Zone inclosures;. 
However, First Army's policy was to employ a group of prisoners for 
a week and then to evacuate it, substituting another group in its 
place. 29 Between the period 9 June-26 June 1944, 4,455 prisoners of 
war were employed on work details : 

Prisoners of War 1 Prisoners of War * 

9 June 1944 231 18 June 1944 331 

10. June 1944 341 19 June 1944 343 

11 June 1944 455 20 June 1944 81 

12 June 1944 382 21 June 1941 373 

13 June 1944 444 22 June 1944 378 

14 June 1944 _ 385 23 June 1944 

15 June 1944 362 24 June 1944 

16 June 1944 148 25 June 1944_ 2 

17 June 1944 187 26 June 1944 12 

1 "Operation Report NEPTUNE/' op. clt., p. 350. 

The tactical situation provided the basic reason why prisoners of 
war were not employed more freely. Until the fall of St. Lo, the small 
Allied area contained both the First Army and ABSEC; the retention 
of prisoners would have further congested the area and would have 
constituted a possible threat in the rear of the combat troops. In addi- 
tion, regulations contained in the Geneva Convention specified that 
prisoners of war would be evacuated to a place of relative safety as 
soon as possible. 

Paramilitary Organizations 

As the beach dumps grew, the need for labor increased. The French 
Government organized mobile labor companies of semimilitary nature 
similar to quartermaster service companies and furnished them with 
salvaged or substandard equipment. Former members of the Organi- 
zation Todt 30 were used in the units, but they were commanded by 
French officers and were under French control. American units em- 
ployed these labor companies extensively on the beaches. 

To avoid giving the German Government grounds for complaint f or 
alleged violations of the Geneva Convention by the United States and 
to avoid any possible reprisals against captured Allied personnel, 
SHAEF ordered all former Organization Todt members captured by 
Allied forces to be carefully screened to determine whether they were 
actually in a prisoner of war status. 

20 "History of . . . PM, ETOUSA," PW Div, p. 25 ; "Adininistratlv u ana Logistical His- 
tory of ETO," op, cit., pt. IX, pp. 279-80; "Report of Operations (Pinal After Action Re- 
port) 12th Army Group," vol. II, p. 57. TJH 1-12.1. OCMI-I, Gen Uef Off. 

30 Paramilitary construction organization of the Nazi party, auxiliary to the Wehrmacht. 
Named after Its founder, Dr. Todt. 



On 14 July 1944, SHAEF stated "so long as all Prisoners of War are 
evacuated to UK, the existing instructions stand, but as soon as screening 
can be carried out on the Continent, the procedure to be adopted is summa- 
rized below : 

All personnel in uniform will initially be treated as Prisoners of War. 
They will be screened and treated as 1 follows : 

(1) ALL GERMANS will be treated as Prisoners or War. 

(2) FRENCHMEN who are classed as suitable and who are willing to 
serve with the FRENCH forces may be handed over to the FRENCH 
authorities for incorporation in the FRENCH forces or organized 
into Pioneer Battalions under FRENCH control. 

(3) Other foreigners, with the exception of RUSSIANS, POLES and 
DUTCH, who are found suitable and who volunteer may be organ- 
ized into labor units, but will remain under BRITISH or U. S. 
control. They will NOT be placed under FRENCH control. 


(1) RUSSIANS will all be treated as Prisoners of War pending instruc- 
tions from MOSCOW. 

(2) DUTCH will be retained or evacuated as Prisoners of War. 

(3) POLES will be evacuated as Prisoners of War to the UNITED 1 
KINGDOM for screening with a view to incorporation in the 
POLISH forces. 

ALL FRENCH or foreign personnel not considered reliable will be treated 
as Prisoners of War and not handed over to their indigenous authorities. 

Personnel NOT in, uniform. After screening those who are found suitable 
and" who volunteer may be employed for labor purposes. Those who are 
suspect, unless they can produce evidence to prove that they have the right 
to treatment as Prisoners of War, will be detained as civilian suspects. 
Those of FRENCH nationality may be handed over to the FRENCH while 
those of other nationalities will be retained in custody of BRITISH and 
TJ. S." 81 

This last provision dealt with personnel of paramilitary formations. 

Allied personnel captured in enemy military formations, who after 
screening were found to be suitable and who volunteered, were handed 
over to the indigenous authorities for incorporation within their na- 
tional forces. In this connection, the same exceptions in respect to 
Russians, Dutch, and Poles as in the case of paramilitary units applied. 
All unreliable Allied personnel remained as prisoners of war. 32 

Labor Policies on the Continent During the Lodgment Period 

(6 June-25 July) 

Because of the tactical situation, by 25 July only 1,570 square miles 
of France, less than the size of the State of Delaware and only one- 
tenth of the area estimated for this period, were in Allied hands. 

»Ltr, SHAEF to CinC, 21 Army Gp, CG, 1st U. S, Army, 14 Jul 44, sub: Para Mili- 
tary Formations. 12th Army Group AG 383.6— Prisoners of War (vol. I). DRB, TAG 



Nevertheless, with the fall of Cherbourg on 27 June, attention was 
focused again on the question of PW labor on the Continent, especially 
with the anticipated need of rehabilitation work in the port area. 
On 1 July 1944, the ADSEC provost marshal advised G-4, ADSEC, 
that certain provisions of the Geneva Convention regarding prisoner 
of war employment might of necessity be balanced with other pro- 
visions while the PWs were in evacuation channels. Thus, Allied 
commanders might use PWs to unload trucks containing war ma- 
terials so they could be evacuated from the combat zone more quickly. 
They could also be used to evacuate their own wounded. However, 
it was pointed out to these commanders that holding prisoners of war 
for extended labor would involve full compliance with the provisions 
of the Geneva Convention. 33 

On 15 July 1944 SHAEF published a letter of instructions for the 
employment of prisoners of war in the United Kingdom, and later on 
the Continent, on paid labor projects. 34 In essence it incorporated all 
previous policy decisions and the British prohibitions on PW employ- 
ment. It also complied with the provisions of the Geneva Prisoner 
of War Convention of 1929 and the 1929 Geneva Red Cross Conven- 
tion. Adhering to the April 1942 Manual prepared by The Provost 
Marshal General, SHAEF defined two classes of PW labor: Class I 
labor was that employed within the PW inclosure for maintenance, 
repair, and housekeeping. Class II labor was any other labor not 
prohibited by the provisions of the Geneva Convention. Generally 
prisoners of war were paid for only Class II labor. 

Under this new directive, all base commands in which PW inclosures 
were located were responsible for the safeguarding of enemy per- 
sonnel. When the PWs were not working, they were to be kept in 
confinement behind barbed wire, and the using service was responsible 
for supplying adequate guards and overhead personnel for the 
prisoners on work projects. Also the chief of the using service was 
responsible for the technical supervision and use of the German PWs 
in a manner identical to that- applied to U. S. personnel. 

The pay of German PWs engaged in Class II labor (and those 
engaged in Class I labor to the extent that their assigned work pre- 
cluded them from Class II labor) was based on their German Army 
rank. Their accounts were credited monthly with the amount due 
them for labor, including both pay and allowances, as indicated below : 

=3 "Operations History, ADSEC, Com Z," op. cit., p. 238. See also : Buppentfial, op. tit., 
p. 430. 

34 "History . . . PM, ETOUSA," p. 27. 







to ac- 




Major and above.. . . ^ — 




Captain „ - ' 







2d lieutenant _ - — 




AH other ranks , ... 



" 24 

<* Ltr, Hq, ETOTJSA, to CG's, 1st Army Gp, U. S. Strategic AT in Europe, etc., IB Jul 44, sub: Employ- 
ment of German Prisoners of War in the UK, J & C 383.6 Prisoners of War (vol. I) . DEB, TAG; see also: 
"Administrative and Logistical History of ETO," op. elt., pt. IX, p. 278. 

The Breakout and Pursuit Period 

The fall of St. Lo on 14 July, the launching of Operation COBRA, 35 
and the Third Army's drive into Brittany broadened the boundaries 
of the Allied areas. ADSEC, as planned, followed the advancing 
armies. Various base sections, each having a certain geographical 
area of responsibility, were established to furnish additional logistical 
support. This tended to increase the demand for labor which was 
already critical. SHAEF recognized the value of prisoner of war 
labor and, prodded by the manpower shortage in France'', ordered the 
full utilization of this labor supply. 36 

About mid- July, the' Communications Zone (which was still in 
England) inquired if it were possible to retain PW's for labor in 
ADSEC. ADSEC immediately protested against PW employment 
at this time and stated that the area was full of abandoned weapons 
and ammunition and it did not have adequate guards for the prisoners. 
Furthermore, it protested that PW labor "has been unsatisfactory 
whenever tried in other theaters according to reports believed reli- 
able," and that the Army commander did not desire PW's to be em- 
ployed in the area under his command or in the area close to the 
rear of his command. ADSEC also stated that it was semimobile and 
closely followed the First Army in its advance ; therefore it did not 
have the transportation necessary to move the prisoners from place 
to place. 37 

Nevertheless, the Communications Zone saw the advantages of 
using prisoner of war labor and directed their employment in the 
rear areas of the combat zone, subject to the restrictions contained in 
SHEAF and ETOUSA directives governing PW employment in the 

& The code name for the plan for the break-out from the Normandy lodgment area along 
the St. Lo-Periera road west of St. Lo. 

=» "Administrative & Logistical History of ETO," op. cit., pt. IX, jj- 280; "History . . . 
PM, ETOUSA," PW Biv, pp. 24, 30. 

37 Ltr, Brig Gen K. G. Plank to CG, Com Z, 18 Jul 44, sub: Prisoners oi War. Opna 
Rpts, Prisoners of War, Adm. 261. DRB, TAG. , 


United Kingdom, 38 ADSEC was authorized to interpret the Geneva 
Convention as it saw fit and to secure PWs for labor direct from the 
First Army without previous reference to the theater provost 
marshal. 39 

The commanding general of ADSEC therefore reluctantly ap- 
proved the initial use of 2,000 prisoners of war, and made G-l re- 
sponsible for the establishment and operation of a 2,000-man PW 
continental labor inclosure. The provost marshal, under the super- 
vision of G-l, was to organize the PWs into labor companies at the 
inclosure, and G-2 was to' screen the PWs to determine those desirable 
for labor. All services under ADSEC were responsible for the con- 
struction of facilities to house, shelter, and care for the work units. 
They were also responsible for guarding, work supervision, and ad- 
ministration of the labor companies. G-4 was responsible for de- 
termining the priority of allocation of the units. 40 

The Allied breakout of the lodgment resulted in a sudden influx of 
prisoners of war; and many service troops which normally supported 
combat operation had to be diverted to guard the prisoners and certain 
vital installations. To release these troops for combat operations, 
ADSEC, on 5 August 1944, ordered the technical services to use PW 
labor companies but to comply with existing directives and with FM 
27-10, "Rules of Land Warfare," 41 Before this directive, there had 
been' no coordinated policy for PW employment in ADSEC. The 
ADSEC provost marshal immediately ordered the organization of 
prisoners of war into labor companies, and the Engineer Section, 
ADSEC, pioneered in this move, developing methods and principles 
that were later adopted generally as a standard operating procedure 
throughout ADSEC. By the end of July, there were 1,250 PWs at- 
tached to engineer units. A few days after the order to the technical 
services, the ADSEC provost marshal was swamped with requests for 
PW labor: he was directed to deliver 25,500 PWs within 16 days (25 
August) . The provost marshal section and units under its control had 
been thrust into a dual program of full-scale evacuation and of deliv- 

38 The theater quartermaster had reported that the use of PW labor was essential to 
supplement the inadequate civilian labor supply and to ease the shortage of QM service 
companies. See: QM Opn. Study No. 11, Office of Theater QM, Hq, TSFET, 1 Nov 45. 
Copy in Hist Sec, OQMG. 

3 »0n 14 Jul SHAEF had detached ADSEC from First Army and had placed it under 
Com Z control with the stipulation that until SHAEF "was established on the Continent, 
First Army would have final authority on all matters except troop and supply priorities 
for the air forces. See : Rupperithal, op. cit., pp. 433-36; see also : CM-OUT EX-38893, 
Lee to ADSEC for First Army, 20 Jul 44 (S). SHAEF 383.6-19, Employment of Prison- 
ers of War. DRB, TAG. 

40 Ltr, Hq, ADSEC, to CO's, all organizations and installations, ADSEC, 4 Aug 44, sub : 
Prisoner of War Labtjr, Opns Rpts, Prisoners of War, Adm. 261. DEB, TAG ; see also : 
"Operations History, ADSEC, Com Z," op. cit., pp. 237-38. 

*i Ltr, Hq, ADSEC, Cora Z, to all services, ADSEC, Cora Z, 5 Aug 44 ; sub : Employment 
of German Prisoners of War in France (SOP) (S). J&C 12th Army Group 383.6, Pris- 
oners of War (vol. 1), DRB, TAG. 



ering PW's for labor, and the suddenness of this demand for PW 
labor found the section unprepared. 

Headquarters, Communications Zone, Arrives on the Continent 

On 7 August 1944, Headquarters, Communication Zone, arrived in 
France and assumed supervisory control of all prisoners of war em- 
ployed in the base sections/ 2 ADSEC then followed behind the ad- 
vancing Allied armies which were moving rapidly across France. In 
late August, SHAEF ordered the retention of all PW's on the Con- 
tinent except those who were physically unfit or those whose political 
philosophy made them uncooperative for labor. These were evacuated 
to England and to the United States. 4 " 

At first, the newly activated base sections which had been established 
as ADSEC advanced acquired PW's for labor direct from army evacua- 
tion channels. These prisoners were neither processed nor reported 
through authorized channels to the protecting power, a condition which 
was not corrected until late September 1944. 44 With the arrival of 
Hq, Com Z, the procedure for requisitioning PW labor was changed. 
The using services or the base sections were required to initiate the 
requests for PW labor. If the request came from a base section, Hq, 
Com Z, referred it to possible using services within the base section for 
'comment and concurrence. If it was from a using service, it was co- 
ordinated first through technical channels with the base section com- 
mander concerned. 45 

Labor Performed by PW's During the Breakout and Pursuit 

The number of prisoners of war and the methods of employment 
varied with the different using services during this period. 413 Medical 
hospitals and depots used them for general labor. Engineers used 
them for construction work ; to maintain and repair roads and rail- 
ways ; in public utilities ; and to rehabilitate port areas, especially the 
port of Cherbourg in France. The first prisoner of war used for labor 
in Cherbourg arrived on 14 August 1944, and by the end of the month 
4,000 a day were working. They were organized into 250-man PW 
companies, and 12 guards were assigned to every 100 prisoners of war. 

42 After the Allied forces broke out of the lodgment, Hq, Cora Z, desired to be near the 
stage of action to guide the development of the rear areas. It assumed command of the 
rear area ; therefore, Forward Echelon never came into actual being on the Continent. 
See: Riippenthal, op. cit., p. 436. 

""History . . , I'M, ETOUSA," PW Div, p. 29. 

44 "Operations History, ADSEC, Com Z," op. cit., p. 242. 

45 "Administrative and Logistical History of ETO," op. cit., pt. IX, pp 282-83- see 
also : Ltr, llq, ETOUSA, to distribution, 21 Sep 44, sub : Prisoner of War Labor No' 189 
in 12th Army Gp, AG 383.6, Prisoners of War (vol. II). DRB, TAG. 

" Tor examples, see : "Operations History, ADSEC, Com Z," op. cit , p 82 * MS "His- 
tory of the 54th QM Base Depot, August 1944 -January 1945," pt. Ill ; and QM Opn ' Study 
11, 1 Nov 45, The latter two are filed iri Hist See, OQMG. 



On the job, they were segregated from civilians and did not handle 
munitions. 47 

The Quartermaster Corps first employed prisoners of war in August 
1944 in cemeteries operated by ADSEC. Shortly thereafter they used 
them for salvage and laundry work, to cut fuel and in the harvesting of 
crops, and for depot work. The Quartermaster Corps classified its 
prisoners according to skills in order to achieve more efficient 

In late August 1944, representatives from SHAEF inspected PW 
camps in France to determine if the enemy personnel was being 
worked properly and was not being pampered. The subsequent in- 
spection revealed that the work hours for the PWs varied, but in all 
camps inspected the length of the workday did not exceed 12 hours. 
In some cases, the prisoners of war failed to work a full day because 
of a lack of transportation to move them from the PW inclosures to 
the work site — a condition that was overcome by "farming out" the 
prisoners to the unit responsible for the work. The effectiveness of 
PW labor varied according to the type of work performed. Often the 
using unit did not obtain maximum effort because of a lack of proper 
planning, and the using service had the tendency to requisition more 
prisoner of war labor than was necessary for the job or for the number 
of tools available. 48 

Meanwhile, Hq, ETOTJSA, requested the Communications Zone 
services to reestimate their PW labor requirements through March 
1945, taking into consideration the then existent policy of retaining 
the maximum number of prisoners on the continent. On 24 August 
1944, it received the following estimates : 


September 1944 

December 1944 

March 1945 


112, 750 

165, 500 

193, 000 






32, 000 

43, 000 

52, 000 

Medical _ _ _ _ 

6, 750 

17, 750 

18, 000 

Ordnance ' 

2, 500 

5, 000 

5, 000 

Quartermaster. . 

45, 000 

52, 500 

60, 000 



1, 750 

2, 500 

Transportation. , _ _ „ 

25, 000 

45, 000 

- 55, 000 

o "History . . , PM, ETOUSA," op. cil, PW Dlv., p. 20. 

47 MS, "Cherbourg — Gateway to France, Rehabilitation and Operation of the First Major 
Port," eh. VII, 8-3.1 AE. OCMH, Gen Ref Off; memo w/inel., Col E. H. Shard to Maj 
Gen R. W. Barker, Sep 44, sub : German Prisoners of War. Copy in G-l SHAEF CALA File 
{vol. II), 254 PW and Internment Camps. DBE, TAG; see also: Ltr, Hq, Cherbourg 
Base Cmd, to Chs of Svcs, 3 Aug 44, sub : Prisoner of War Labor. AG, Western Base 
Sec 383.6, Prisoners of War. DPRB, TAG. 

<8 Memo w/incl., Col E, H.. Shard to Maj Gen K. W. Barker, Sep 44, sub: German 
prisoners of War, G-l SHAEF CALA File (vol. II) 254 PW anfl Internment Camps. 



Prisoners of war were then sent to central inclosures within the sec- 
tion or base section concerned according to the estimated requirements 
of the technical services. But the rapid movement of the Allied 
combat arms prevented the supporting services from using the num- 
ber of prisoners previously anticipated. They found it impossible to 
guard, train, and use the PWs and at the same time keep supplies 
abreast of the combat troops. Also, some services were allotted work 
other than what they had expected and which was unsuitable for pris- 
oners of war. For example, most engineer general service regiments 
were placed on railroad construction and other jobs that required 
trained, skilled workmen rather than mass labor. Because of this and 
due to the lack of transportation, PW's could not be used ; therefore, 
many were returned to the central inclosures. 49 

Of the estimated 112,750 PW requirements for September 1944, the 
number actually employed as of 1 October 1944 was : 50 

number of PWs 

Service Employed, 

Total - 62,454 

Quartermaster 20,629 

Engineers ' " 24,445 

Medical 2,091 

OWS 489 

Signal -1 1,269 

Ordnance " 1,934 

Transportation - - 11,597 

11 Including 220 Organization Todt workers. 
b Including 964 Organization Todt workers. 

Consequently the central inclosures were overcrowded. 

To compensate for the influx at the central inclosures, the theater 
provost marshal ordered each section or base section to establish "one 
or more continental central inclosures and many 'branch labor in- 
closures.' " He also issued a plan for the evacuating, handling, and 
working prisoners of war. Following the plan, U. S. commanders 
evacuated PWs from the combat zone into Advance Section, Com- 
munications Zone (ADSEC), where Allied nationals were segregated 
from, the other prisoners at temporary PW camps. From here the 
PWs were forwarded to a section or base section central inclosure 
where they were either held for distribution to branch labor inclo- 
sures ; held in confinement ; or evacuated to the United States or the 
United Kingdom. If possible, all PWs except German Army officers 
and those who were physically or politically unfit for labor were re- 
tained. All Allied nationals, except Russian prisoners of war, were 
evacuated to the United Kingdom. 51 

46 "Operational History, ADSEC, Com Z," op. cit,, p. 82, 

60 "History . . . PM, ETOUSA," op. cit., PW Div., pp. 24, 30-31. 

B1 -Ltr, Office of Theater Provost Marshal, Hq, ETOUSA, to all concerned, 6 Sep 44, sub : 
Instructions Relative to Reception, Handling, Labor, etc., of Enemy Prisoners of War 
Moving from the Combat Zone into Com Z (S). Copy in Hid., app. I. 


Hq, ETOUSA, took further steps to alleviate the overcrowded con- 
ditions in 17. S.-operated PW installations by again evacuating pris- 
oners of war to the United States. It also shipped 41,500 PW's to 
the British at Southampton, and others to the Frencli and other 
Allies. 52 

In the combat zone, 12th Army Group authorized the U. S. First 
Army to grant immediate paroles to German anti-Nazi deserters whose 
families lived in towns and communities in the First Army Sector. 
Permission was also granted to use certain paroled German techni- 
cians to aid the American forces. It was desired to use selected de- 
serters as informers to solve counterintelligence problems and to ap- 
prehend Nazi party members. The Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) 
was to control the parolees. 53 

When the rapid advance of the Allies halted at the German border 
in September 1944, emphasis was again placed on prisoner of war 
employment. As hope grew in the rear areas that VE-Day was not 
far off, Allied commanders feared a serious labor shortage would ac- 
company any future redeployment of troops to the Pacific. Conse- 
quently they accelerated the organization and training of PW tech- 
nical units. Emphasis was placed on the 100 percent substitution of 
PW labor for soldier labor. 54 In the Normandy Base Section, district 
commanders were directed to establish PW labor pools where units 
within walking distance could draw and use daily one or more PW 
labor companies. The using units were to guard, discipline, and feed 
the PW's during employment and were required to submit their re- 
quests for labor to the base section twice daily. Based on the ex- 
periences of the using services, ETOUSA in October 1944 issued a 
standard operating procedure (SOP) that governed PW employ- 
ment throughout France and Germany. It incorporated all existing 
directives, but made no new changes. 55 

Forward Movement of ADSEC 

As Advance Section, Communications Zone, moved forward, it took 
with it 8 to 10 thousand PW's who were already organized into labor 
companies, adding others at different stages. All surplus PW's, less 
those to be turned over to the British under existing agreements, were 
sent to the rear to the base sections. ADSEC also allotted and ad- 

™ Ibid., p. 24 ; see also : MS, "History of the Theater Provost Marshal, BTOUSA, 1 Oct 
1944-8 Mar 1945," sec. VII, p. 1 (S). Opus Ttpta Aflm 567D. DRB, TAG. 

53 Ltr, Hq, 1st TJ. S. Army, to 12th Army Gp, 11 Oct 44, sub: Authority to Parole Cer- 
tain German Deserters, w/lst Ind., Hq, 12th Army Gp, to CG, 1st TJ. S. Army, 25 Oct 44 
AG, First Army, 383.6 Prisoners of War, Binder 1, Security Control Div. DPRB, TAG, 

5 * MS, 'Tjabor Services and Industrial Police in the European Command 1945-50,". p. 10 
(S.) 8-3.1 CF2C1. OCMII, Gen Ref Off ; see also: Ltr Order, Normandy Base Sec, Com 
Z, ETO, 12 Dec 44 ; sub : Maximum Uso of Prisoners of War. AG, Normandy Base Sec, 
383.6, Prisoners of War. DPRB, TAG, 

«s SOP 49, Hq, ETOUSA, 2 Oct 44. Copy in author's file. 



ministered the PW's requested by the combat armies — a step that was 
necessary because all PW* documentation and processing was done in 
the Advance Section and not in the Army areas. Although the PW's 
could be used in army areas, regulations prohibited their use at any 
site within 12 miles of organized enemy resistance or at any site that 
would be a legitimate objective for enemy air attack. Also the PW's 
could not be moved to railheads forward of the army rear boundary 
without the consent of ADSEC. 

The general employment policy followed by ADSEC was to use 
PW labor whenever possible, within the limits permitted, to relieve 
U. S. enlisted personnel for duty elsewhere. 30 .Section chiefs and 
unit commanders examined work assignments continuously for group 
tasks on which small as well as large groups of PW's could be 

Employment of Italian and Russian PW's 

Meanwhile, two new problems confronted the prisoner of war em- 
ployment program. The first concerned the use of Italian service 
units and American-held prisoners of war in England. The second 
was in conjunction with Russians captured while serving in the Ger- 
man Army. The British Chief of Staff requested that all Italian 
PW's in the United Kingdom, either British or U. S. controlled, be 
paid at the British rate for labor. The British anticipated difficulty 
if the English public learned that ex-enemies were paid more than 
British soldiers. American authorities recognized the problem and 
quickly pointed out that the rates of pay were merely bookkeeping 
and that no cash payments were involved. The British, however, 
remained adamant that the pay scale for Italian prisoners be reduced 
and proposed further that the PW's be released to British control. 
United States officials refused and stated that their control of such 
personnel was essential to the war effort. This argument continued 
until 14 October 1944 when General Eisenhower replied that unless 
the British furnished American troops with equivalent labor, he could 
not remove the Italians in question until the port of Antwerp, Bel- 
gium, was opened and in operation. This solved the problem in Great 
Britain; but the British then asked that the Italian units not be 
employed in Antwerp or in any other British- controlled area lest the 
same objections arise. In reply to this, General Eisenhower said: 
"Orderly removal of Italian Service Units will begin when Antwerp 
port is open and in operation. Italian units will not be employed in 
British-controlled areas, but this headquarters must reserve the right 

cs Ltr, Ilq, ADSEC, Coin Z, to CO's, all units and installations, 1 Nov 44, sub: Employ- 
ment of German Prisoners of War <SOP) (S). No. 189 in 12th Army Group, AG 383.6, 
Prisoners of War (vol. II), DRB, TAG ; see also: "Operations History, ADSEC, Com Z," 
op, eit„ p. 242. 



Figure 7. Members of I&U's at work in France. 

to use units without regard, to area limitations when military exi- 
gencies demand same." m 

The second problem, arose in conjunction with the employment of 
Russian nationals who had been impounded, as prisoners of war. 
Before 1 October 1944: 5 Allied officials understood that the Russian 
Government was not interested in its nationals who had served in 
the German army. Lacking any definite information from the Rus- 
sian Government, the Combined Chiefs of Staff directed they be con- 
sidered as enemy prisoners of war. PW camp commanders therefore 
segregated the Russians from other German PW's, screened and or- 
ganized them into labor units according to their qualifications, and 
employed them, on appropriate work projects. American officers, 
assigned to these labor units, supervised, their work. 58 

In late October, the Soviet Union requested that its nationals in 
Allied custody he regarded as "liberated Soviet citizens." A Rus- 
sian mission then visited all. FW installations that contained Soviet 
nationals. This mission often made statements to the Russian inmates 
that conflicted with SHAEF instructions, thus hindering the using 

s'CM-IB E6067.1, Hq, Com Z to WXJ, 5 Not 44 (8) ; memo for Record, OFD, 16 Oct 44, 
sub: Payment of Italians Employed in the UK (S). Both filed in Case 5324, OPI> 383.6 
(See. X), DRB. TAG. 

«* Ltr, Hq, SHABF to CG, Com %, ETQ, 18 Oct 44, sab : Busslan Nationals, Captured 
While Serving in German Armed Forces (S). Copy in "History . . , PM, KTOUSA, 1 Oct 
1944-8 May 1046," sec. V.U (sub-sec. 5). 


services' PW employment program. After the camps were visited by 
Russian officers, labor strikes occurred with increasing frequency as 
did daily disturbances within the camps. The Russians had come to 
feel that they deserved better treatment and consideration than that 
given to ordinary prisoners of war. 59 

Finally in February 1945, the United States and the Soviet Union 
reached an agreement at Yalta as to the care, maintenance, and re- 
patriation of prisoners of war and other citizens of each country 
liberated by Soviet and U. S. forces. Each PW was to be segregated, 
screened, and treated as a national of his respective country, and was 
to be repatriated as soon as possible. 60 

The Military Labor Service and PW Employment 

After the Italian service units in the United Kingdom were moved 
to the Continent, ETOUSA established the Military Labor Service 
to coordinate the activities of all labor units. It was made a special 
staff section and counterparts were established with various head- 
quarters down to and including base sections. [See chart 12.~\ 61 On 
8 December 1944, Col. Donald J. Leahey, an officer who had worked 
with Italian service units in Southern France, was named chief and 
w T as given the following mission and functions of the Military Labor 
Service : 

Effective this date, the Military Labor Service . . . is established . . . for 
the overall staff coordination and supervision of organization, recommended 
allocation, administration, and procedure for the operational employment 
of rtalian Service Units, German PW Work Units, and all other formally 
organized labor elements utilized by the US forces in the theater, exclusive 
of US Service units and Continental civilian nationals.' 1 

Before the Military Labor Service was established, ETOUSA had 
planned to establish separate military labor supervision regiments in 
each Communications Zone section that employed PW labor units, 
especially in the Channel Base, Normandy Base, and Advance Sec- 
tions. The aim was to relieve provost marshals, at all levels, of re- 
sponsibility for labor service units after their organization. Each 
service regiment was to provide the military labor staff at base section 
headquarters and was to staff each employed German PW labor com- 
pany with one U. S. company grade officer and at least two U. S. non- 
commissioned officers for command and work supervision. In addi- 

C9 Memo, Office of Theater Provost Marshal, Hq, ETOUSA, to Ch, PW Div, 29 Oct 44, sub : 
Visit of Eussian Officers to PW Enclosures at Lo Mans. Copy in ibid. 

ea Ltr, Hq, ETOUSA, to CG's, etc., 8 Apr 45, sub : Liberated Citizens of the Soviet Union. 
Copy in ibid. 

61 Hq, ETOUSA, GO 123, 8 Dec 44, sub : Establishment of Military tabor Service. No. 
231143 in SHAEF PWD 383.6, Prisoners of War. DRB, TAG. 

^IMd.j see "Labor Services and Industrial Police in the European Command 1945-50," 
op. cit., for a comprehensive study on the Military Labor Service, 



tion, it was to similarly staff any other organized PW labor units, such 
as Russian or Polish, that were assigned to the section. The service 
regiment was also to supervise guard forces, whether United States or 
French, assigned to German labor companies. 63 

In December 1944, General Eisenhower proposed a more elaborate 
plan, stating : 

Experience here and in NATOUSA has shown that proper utility can be 
obtained from prisoner of war units only when such are under command 
and supervision of US cadres assigned to and integral with those units. 
Present necessity of operating labor units merely by attachment to organic 
units is very unsatisfactory and inefficient and wasteful of both the labor 
resources and the U. S. units involved. 64 

He proposed a larger cadre than that allotted for Italian service units 
in the Mediterranean theater since the Italian units had a full quota 
of Italian officers and NCO's, whereas in the European theater no 
German officer or rTCO above the grade of corporal would be used. 
Furthermore, no equivalent persons were available in liberated man- 
power units. 

In January 1945, the War Department approved the plan and the 
Military Labor Service was formed. ETOUSA established 10 labor 
supervision units, 05 comprised of 1,160 cells of IT. S. officers and non- 
commissioned officers, and distributed them among labor supervision 
areas or with each communications zone base section as a labor super- 
vision headquarters; among labor supervision centers for camp and 
area headquarters in the field; in labor supervision companies for 
cadres with individual 250-man PW companies ; and for labor super- 
vision platoon headquarters. 66 

The Supervisory Headquarters [See chart 13~\ 

Headquarters, Labor Supervision Area 

This headquarters, with an authorized strength of eight U. S. 
officers and eight enlisted men, was activated with each Communi- 
cations Zone section and served as a special staff group to the 
section commander. It exercised staff supervision and control of 
all military labor elements within the section, including their 
administration, housekeeping, guarding, and other requirements. 
If the section commander desired, this headquarters was also used 
for the supervisory command of such labor elements. 

03 "Labor Services and Industrial Police in the European Command 1945-50," op. oit., 
pp. 62-63. 

« CM-IN EX-80290, Com Z to TAG, 20 Dec 44 (S). SECAEF SGS 383.6/2, Employ- 
ment of Prisoners of War Regulations & Policy. DHB, TAG. 

CB The 10 units were organized under TO 20-20T, dtd 9 Jan 45, and contained 2,480 U. S. 
officers and 7,980 noncommissioned officers. 

m "Labor Services and Industrial Police in the European Command 1945-50," op. cit., 
pp. 63-64. 




Headquarters, Labor Supervision Center 

This unit, consisting of four officers and enlisted men, operate 
at major command or subordinate command levels and provided 
field overliead supervision at all camps, field inclosures, or detached 
areas. It supervised the functions of labor supervision company 
headquarters and its attached labor units. 

Headquarters, Labor Supervision Company 

The labor supervision company headquarters was the key link in 
the supervisory chain. It consisted of two U. S. officers and seven 
enlisted men for one or two military labor service units (made up 
generally of from 250 to 500 men) assigned to Com Z sections. 67 

Before 15 March 1945, Headquarters, Labor Supervision Center, 
assigned and allotted labor supervision companies freely on the 
request of Com Z section commanders. No requests were refused 
nor were any references made to the allocations of the PW labor 
companies among the technical services. This was done on the 
theory that the most active sections which employed and organized 
PW units should be favored. If the program became unbalanced as 
a result, the supervision center planned to transfer the labor units 
to alleviate situations as they occurred. This policy resulted in 
some base sections having a surplus of supervisory units while others 
suffered from a shortage. 

Each labor supervision company commander was directly respon- 
sible for the administration and supply of his supervisory units and 
for the attached PW labor service companies. When a labor super- 
vision company was attached to an installation or troop unit for 
duty, the installation commander, at his discretion, could assign 
operational duties to the labor supervision company officers as long 
as they did not interfere with the administration of the PW com- 
pany. However, the operational use of German labor companies 
was to be as directed by the using service or installation. The labor 
supervision company commander advised or rendered any assistance 
that would facilitate or aid PW employment on specified tasks. 

Headquarters, Labor Supervision Platoon (Separate) 

This headquarters, which consisted of one U. S. officer and four 
enlisted men, was employed occasionally when the size or type of 
PW labor unit or teams of PW workers did not warrant the use 
of a labor supervision company. 68 

67 This included all Italian service units, all formally organized German PW labor 
units, and all organized civilian mobile labor units. 

M "Labor Services and Industrial Police in the European Command 1945-50," op. eit., 
pp. 26-28 ; see also : Ltr, Hq, ETOUSA, to Sec Cmdrs, Com Z ; CG, UK Base, etc., 19 Feb 45, 
sub : Organization of Military Labor Service Units, SHAEF A 49-70, Prisoners of War' 



Chart IS. Command Structure of Military Lador Units Within Theater Major 










Command and Administrative Channels (.Nate J). 
Technical Channels. 

Operational Control (No/e 2). 

Note J. Where supervision units are assigned to subordinate commands, the labor supervision com- 
mand channel becomes a technical channel. 

Nofe 2. Labor Supervision Centers and Companies, Labor Service Companies and Guard elements 
working in service installations are employed under the operational control and technical super- 
vision of the chief of service of the major command concerned. 

Source: Hq. USFET S.O.P. No. 80, 20 May 1946. 

Military personnel for the supervisory units was obtained from 
sources available to the command concerned. Like the PW labor 
units, the major command could assign the supervisory units to sub- 
ordinate commands as it saw fit. To get the organization moving, 
each base section commander appointed a capable, energetic officer in 
the grade of colonel or lieutenant colonel to act as an overall labor 
coordinator for the section and to serve as the staff advisor to the base 
section commander. Other personnel was drawn from theater or the 
base section overhead. 

The Military Labor Service assumed control of PW work opera- 
tions as soon as the provost marshals completed screening, processing, 


and organizing the prisoners into work units. The section also co- 
ordinated all labor matters between the staff sections of the appro- 
priate command. It primarily coordinated and clarified measures 
involving PW work units, but it did not handle measures involving 
operational control which remained in the hands of the using service.^ 
Two months after its inception, ETOUSA placed the Military 
Labor Service under the supervision of G-3, ETOUSA, for general 
staff coordination. In March 1945, the Military Labor Service lost 
its status as a special staff section and its functions were taken over 
completely by the ETOUSA G-3. 70 In. August 1945, the Labor 
Service was transferred to the Office of G-3, Theater Service Forces, 
European Theater (TSFET) ; and in November 1945, the Service was 
inactivated and its duties were absorbed by the Troops and Labor 
Branch, G-4 Section, United States Forces in the European Theater 
(USFET). From its inception to its inactivation, the functions of 
the Military Labor Service remained essentially the same. 71 

German Prisoner of War Labor Companies 

Most early German prisoner of war labor companies were formed 
informally to meet the requirements and needs of the using services. 
The Military Labor Service formally organized and designated those 
PW labor units already in existence and formed new service com- 
panies as well. 72 Under the new system, the appropriate provost mar- 
shal grouped 250 to 300 prisoners into a labor company, according to 
their requisite skills and capabilities, following modified TOE com- 
parable to those used for similar American units. The Military Labor 
Service attached U. S. soldiers to the PW labor companies for admin- 
istration and supervision. 73 The program proceeded so well that by 31 
May 1945, 890 prisoner of war units, employing 318,120 men, 74 and 228 
Italian service units, totaling 39,137 Italian PW's were in use. [See 
table 4-1 

M "Labor Services and Industrial Police in the European Command 1945-50," op. cit., 
pp. 11, 61. 

™ "Administrative and Logistical History of ETO," op. cit., pt. IX, p. 297. 
71 "Labor Services and Industrial Police in the European Command 1945-50," op, cit., 
pp. 68, 70-71. 

13 Ltr, Hq, Com Z, ETO, to CG, UK Base, Com Z, sec. emdrs. ; etc., 9 Mar 45, sub : De- 
velopment of Prisoners of War into Technical Service Units. No. 431068 in G-4 SHAEF 
Control Files (vol. II), 383.6, Prisoners of War. DRE, TAG. 

re ETOUSA SOP 49, 9 May 45; see also: "Labor Services and Industrial Police in the 
Kuropean Command 194S-50," op. cit., pp. 23-24 ; and MS, "History of Provost Marshal 
Section, Normandy Base Section," pp. 10-15. Adm. 596c, Normandy Base Section — His- 
tory. DEE, TAG. 

" As of 7 Jun 45, 362 German PW units bad been organized in the Normandy Base Section 
alone. Of these 274 (76 percent) were technical units and 88 (24 percent) were general 
labor companies. See : Ltr, Hq, Normandy Ease Sec, to CG, Com Z, ETOUSA, 7 .Tun 45, 
sub : Prisoner of War Units in Normandy Base Section. AG, Western Base See, 383.6, 
Prisoner of War Enclosure. DPRB, TAG. 



Table 4- Development of military labor service mats and overhead units, ETOUSA, 

February— May 1945* 




ivurrrNfiTi ip^ 

\_'\J II \ y_l 1 1, ICO- 








26 Feb 




C a ) 

5 Mar 




1, 279 


44, 762 


35, 862 

12 Mar 




2, 177 


85, 177 


37, 367 

18 Mar 




2, 621 


105, 141 


37, 665 

27 Mar 




3, 088 


120, 453 


37, 665 

1 Apr„ 




3, 760 


164, 300 


36, 905 

8 Apr 




4, 510 


171, 226 


36, 905 

15 Apr 




4, 994 


201, 744 


37, 129 

30 Apr 





232, 000 


37, 638 

31 May 




8, 593 


318, 120 


39, 137 

» Information not available. 

*Source: Data for 30 Apr and 31 Mav from Progress Reports, Hq, ETOUSA, Apr and May 45. All 
other information from Military Labor Bulletins, Hq, Com Z, 26 Feb to 17 Apr 45. Cited in MS "Ad- 
ministrative and Logistical History of ETO," pt, IX, p. 301. 


The organized PW units were equipped according to TOE 20-20T, 
which provided for the necessary housekeeping equipment, and thus 
were self-sustaining, although they Jacked the necessary organiza- 
tional equipment. As a result, they could only be used on general labor 
tasks or to augment and supplement the work output of companion 
American units. This was done by sharing or double-shifting the 
equipment, or by borrowing equipment from TJ. S. units on a mem- 
orandum receipt basis. Other PW units drew equipment on a tem- 
porary issue basis from existing theater stocks. When ETOUSA first 
proposed the formation of German PW technical units in early 1945 
and suggested that the War Department furnish the necessary equip- 
ment, the War Department favored the plan but objected to the quan- 
tities of supplies and equipment desired. At this time, General Eisen- 
hower was also requesting supplies and equipment for contemplated 
French field divisions. However, ETOUSA did obtain permission to 
begin on an experimental basis using the equipment it had on hand. 75 

Security of German PW Units 

The using services were responsible for the operational control of 
the German labor companies assigned to^ them, as distinct from com- 

IS DF, ACofS, OPD, for WD G-l and CofS, 6 Apr 45, sub: Proposal to Equip German 
Prisoners of War as Technical Service Units (S). Filed in Case 374, OCS 383.6 (Sec. V) 
(Cases 350-400). DRB, TAG ; see also : "Administrative and Logistical History of ESTO," 
op. cit., pt. IX, pp. 298-00. 


mand, and all security regulations and existing directives governing- 
prisoner of war employment were in force. 76 The furnishing of 
guards for work details constituted a major hurdle to be surpassed by 
the using services. This was caused by several factors: first, the 
difficulty of furnishing supplies during the period of rapid movement 
placed a strain on the technical services; second, a shortage of service 
personnel existed as a result of furnishing guards for the prisoners 
of war and for various depots; and third, a theater directive initially 
prohibited the movement of Italian nationals, French civilians, or 
German PW's into the enemy's homeland. Therefore, it was neces- 
sary for ETOUSA to use Italian service units and German PW labor 
companies in the rear areas so that American service troops could be 
released for duty in the combat zone. 77 

To replace the American units on guard duty, the technical services 
used guard companies of approximately 300 men recruited from 
among displaced persons (DP's) . After training by the using serv- 
ices, these units were provided in the ratio of 1 nontechnical guard 
company of 1,500 German PW's. The ratio fluctuated with the dis- 
tance of the labor service units from the combat area ; the density of 
population in the work area ; and the type of work to be performed. 
Guards were not provided for the Italian service units. 78 


To bring the PW units up to the desired efficiency, the Military 
Labor Service transferred IT. S. personnel, with adequate and appro- 
priate technical qualifications, to the using services within the base 
sections to train and supervise the German PW labor units. The 
Delta Base Section operated 23 schools to train different PW units 
and used experienced American technicians as instructors. The sec- 
tion also used the apprentice-type training in which German techni- 
cians trained their helpers while at work. 79 


The using services were permitted to take disciplinary action 
against those German PW's who refused to work or who violated any 
rules and regulations. The, PW's were subject to all orders in force 
in the U. S. Army as well as to the Articles of War, but arrest was 
the most severe summary punishment that could be imposed. The 

™Ltr, Hq, Com Z, BTO, to CO, UK Base, Com Z, etc., 5 Mar 45, sub: Guarding and 
Handling of German Prisoners of War. SHAEF S83.6, Prisoners of War. DRB, TAG. 

"Irving Cheslaw, "The Quartermaster Corps: Operations in the War Against Ger- 
many," forthcoming in UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, ch. VII, p. 128. 
MS filed in Hist Sec, OQMG. * 

73 "Labor Services and Industral Police in the European Command, 1945-50," op. cit., 
p. 29; see also: Documents 80213 to S0218 In G-l SHAEF CALA file 230-5, Civilian 
Labor (Use of Civilians to Guard Enemy PW'S) CC). DRB, TAG. 

™ "Administrative and Logistical History of ETO," op, cit. t pt. IX, p. 304. 



duration of a single punishment could not exceed 30 days, nor could 
this limit be exceeded when a PW underwent punishment at one time 
for several offenses. Army Eegulations 600-375 permitted food re- 
strictions to be imposed as increased punishment. Also, certain 
privileges such as the delivery of packages during any punishment 
period could be withheld. Other punishments imposed were the same 
as those given to enlisted personnel in the United States Army. 

On the job, the prisoners were assigned a given amount of work to 
be completed during the day; and if in the opinion of the using serv- 
ice the output of a prisoner was less than average, it could recommend 
a reduction in the PWs daily per diem rate. 80 This resulted in few 
disciplinary problems. 

Types of Organization 

The internal organization of PW labor units was in keeping with 
the work tasks to be done. For example, one quartermaster depot or- 
ganized and placed into operation a provisional PW bakery com- 
pany 81 which used experienced bakers and technicians screened from 
lists of PW specialists compiled by Allied authorities. These were 
assigned by the depot to a specialist company to furnish the working 
platoons for a stationary bakery. One U. S. officer and five U. S. 
enlisted men supervised the prisoners. The table of organization for 
the PW bakery company provided for two platoons, one for day work 
and one for the night shift. It was capable of assuming any normal 
baking operation performed by regular quartermaster baking com- 
panies in the theater. 

Another typical example can he cited in port work. At a key port 
in western Europe, the using service organized four PW labor com- 
panies to unload barges. At first, barge platoons, which consisted of 
41 to 48 PWs trained to operate power conveyors, gravity conveyors, 
and fixed and mobile cranes, were organized at each unloading point. 
A. few English-speaking prisoners were included in each platoon to 
receive and transmit instructions and orders to the PW. noncommis- 
sioned officers. 

Shortly after the PW barge units were organized, TJ. S. military 
units in the port area were alerted and were shipped from the depot. 
It was necessary to use the PW units to shoulder practically the entire 
burden of operations. Only a few American troops were retained to 
supervise their activities. After the war ended, the using service 

B?Ltr, Hq, Channel Base Sec, Com Z, ETO, for distribution, 15 Jun 45, sub: Conduct 
and Treatment of Prisoners of War. Hq, Channel Base Sec, Com Z, AG 383.8, Prisoners 
of War (vol. II— 1 Jun 45). DPRB, TAG; se also: Ltr, Hq, Adv Sec, Com Z, to CO's, 
all units and installations, 1 Nov 44, sub : Employment of German .Prisoners of War 
(vol.11). DBB, TAG. 

81 The 8067 Labor Service Company (Bakery) under the 1156 Labor Supervision 


perfected the organization of the port platoons by forming four PW 
companies, starling them with German officer personnel. Subse- 
quently, these companies carried out all receiving and unloading op- 
erations through their own organization on orders from the using 
agency. Besides replacing all but a handful of U. S. supervisory 
personnel, the continued work of the PW's proved consistently 
satisfactory. 82 

Tasks Performed 

A great variety of PW technical units were ultimately formed, such 

Engineer construction companies. 
Engineer depot companies. 
Engineer forestry companies. 
Medical sanitation companies. 
Ordnance evacuation companies. 
Ordnanceniaintenance companies. 
Ordnance depot companies. 
Quartermaster laundry companies. 
Quartermaster bakery companies. 
Quartermaster salvage companies. 
Quartermaster gas supply companies. 
Quartermaster depot companies. 
Staging area companies. 
. Port marine maintenance companies. 
Boiler and smith shop companies. 83 

German prisoners often performed many different jobs at the. same 
installation. At the 62d Quartermaster Base Depot at Rheims, 
France, they worked as clerks, fumigators, general maintenance men, 
drivers, and in salvage collecting, laundry work, warehouse and rail- 
head work, shoe and clothing repair, and in shower units. In another 
depot, a shortage of qualified clerical and typing help in early 1946 
necessitated the training and use of prisoners of war to do the re- 
quired work. Also in 1946, the Ordnance Division, United States 
Forces in the European Theater, employed several hundred PW labor 
companies throughout France and the American Zone of Germany on 
ordnance and maintenance work, on vehicle assembly and repair, and 
on depot and general work. The medical corps used German PW 
labor companies on the same general duties as were performed for 
them by civilian employees, that is, primarily as manual labor and on 
such jobs as litter-bearing, waste disposal, and the cultivation of the 
hospitals' gardens. 84 

S2 "Labor Services and Industrial Police in the European Command, 1945-50," op. cit.j 
pp. 36-37. 

8S "Administrative and Logistical History of ETO," op. cit., pt. IX, p. 304. 
81 Cpl Alan M. White, "Medical Department Utilization of Civilian and Prisoner of 
-War Labor Overseas in World War II," Tun 52. Piled in Hist Unit, Army Medical Serv- 
ice. OSG. 


Use of Italian Service Units in Forward Areas and in Germany 

Although early policy prevented the employment of Italian service 
units in Germany, the critical need for labor in support of the combat 
armies forced a change. SHAEF first ruled that army rear boundaries 
would remain fixed at the Franco- German border and would not move 
forward; but in January 1945^ it reversed its policy and established 
forward and district commands within Germany under control of the 
Communications Zone. 85 ETOUSA based its employment of Italian 
service units in Germany on the interpretation of existing directives 
that the units could be employed anywhere within Com Z except in 
the combat area. The noncombat areas in Germany were considered 
safe, and the capture of the Italian PW's by the Nazis was not immi- 
nent. The use of Italian service units in the Communications Zone, 
particularly in ADSEC, made it capable of fulfilling- its mission. 86 

Use of German Prisoners in Germany 

The shortage of labor was also the deciding factor in changing the 
policy that prohibited the use of German PW's in Germany proper. 
On 23 January 1945, the Commanding General, 12th Army Group, 
authorized ADSEC to use PW's in Germany subject to the existing 
regulations governing prisoner labor. At first, this action had to be 
coordinated with the commander having immediate area responsibil- 
ity, and only a minimum number of German prisoners could be em- 
ployed. Also, as other labor became available, the PW's had to be 
replaced and removed from Germany. 87 By April 1945, ETOUSA 
lifted the restrictions which limited the number of PW's and their 
ultimate removal from the German homeland, and made the using 
service or agency administratively responsible for all PW's so em- 
ployed. 83 Earlier SHAEF had ruled that PW's could be used at in- 
stallations that constituted a legitimate air target, provided adequate 
shelter was furnished. 89 

On 17 April 1945, General Eisenhower estimated his German pris- 
oner of war labor requirements as — 

V-E Day to V-E+90 ' 487, 000 

V-E+90 to V-E+180 468, 000 

Vt-E+180 to V-E+360 434, 000 

V-E+360 and on 366, 000 

SE Memo, ACofS, G-3, Hq, ETOUSA, to ACof S, G-3, SHAEF, 3 Mar 45, sub : Employ- 
ment of Italian Service Units (ISU's) in Germany (S). SHAEF 1945, 091.711 Italian. 

so Ibid. 

ST Ltr, Hq, 12th Army Gp, to CG, Adv Sec, Com Z, 23 Jan 45, sub : Employment of Ger- 
man Prisoners of War in Germany (S). 12th Army Gp. Prisoner of War 65, drawer 391. 

68 Ltr, Hq, 12th Army Gp, to CG, Adv Sec, Com Z, 25 Apr 45, sub : Employment of Ger- 
man Prisoners of War In Germany (S). G-l Miac Branch #102 Prisoners of War. 

Ltr, SHAEF to CG's (distribution), 21 Mar 45, sub : Prisoner of War Labor. No. 
231046 in SHAEF PWD 383,6 Prisoners of War. DRB, TAG. 



He requested that all Italian service units which totaled approximately 
37,000 Italian prisoners, be retained until V-E Day +360. If not, he 
wanted his prisoner of war estimate increased by 37,000.°° Because it 
would be necessary to feed the anticipated prisoners, he also requested 
that all enemy personnel after the surrender be given the status of 
''military detainees" rather than prisoners of war. The War Depart- 
ment, however, specified that those captured before the cessation of 
hostilities would still be treated as prisoners of war. It did agree to 
declare all members of the German armed forces, other than those con- 
sidered poor security risks and who were captured after the declara- 
tion of ECLIPSE 91 conditions or the cessation of hostilities, as dis- 
, armed enemy forces. As such they would be required to support and 
feed themselves. 93 

As early as April 1945, labor was needed to set the wheels of German 
economy in motion again. In the critical category were coal miners, 
agricultural workers, and transportation workers. To meet the an- 
ticipated labor demands for these occupations, SHAEF considered 
three methods of releasing prisoners of war for these jobs: First, it 
considered releasing the prisoners on parole, but since this was con- 
trary to existing War Department instructions, it was not used. Sec- 
ond, it contemplated giving the PW's their unconditional release. 
This was not favorably considered because of the adverse effect it might 
have on the morale of other Allies who still had troops in enemy 
captivity. Third, and the one finally adopted, it considered their re- 
lease in the vicinity of their homes on a semiparole, prisoner of war 
status. 03 

Allied authorities paid the PW's thus released a civilian rate for 
labor, out of which they maintained themselves. Those engaged in 
heavy labor which required a higher standard of nutrition received a 
food augmentation from German sources. This release of German 
prisoners was substantially on a parole basis. Each prisoner was pro- 
vided with an identity certificate which he presented for indorsement 
to the military government officer nearest his work, and he had to 
report to Allied authorities at given intervals. 04 

60 Msg CM-IN 33819, Hq, Com Z, ETOUSA, to WD and SHAEF, 17 Apr 45 <TS) ; Msg, 
CM-OUT 71432, Somervell, CG, ASF Planning Div, to Hq, Com Z, ETOUSA, for Eisen- 
hower, 21 Apr 45 (Tg) ; Msg, CM-OUT 64227, Somervell to Hq, Com Z, ETO, for Eisen- 
hower, 6 Apr 45, All filed in CAD 383.6 (3-23-43) (1) Prisoners of War. DRB, TAG. 

» l Name given to plans made in the event of a collapse of the Nazi government. 

113 Those prisoners not evacuated from Germany immediately after the conclusion of 
hostilities were to be treated as disarmed enemy forces. See Oliver' J. Frederiksen, The 
American Military Occupation of Germany, 1045-1953 (Hist Div, Hq USA, Europe, 
1953), p. 89. 

93 Ltr, G-l, SHAEF, to CofS, 24 Apr 45, suh : Release of Prisoners of War for Labor 
In Agricultural, Coal Mining, and Transportation Services (C). G-l CALA 383.6/3-18 
Employment of Enemy Prisoners of War. DHB, TAG. 

M CCS 844/1, Copy 194, 30 Apr 45, sub: Employment of German Prisoners of War in 
European Industry ; CM-OUT S-86907, SHAEF Main to 21 Army Gp, 12th Army Gp, etc., 
3 May 45 (S). Both filed in No, 51652 SHAEF/G-5/2849 Displaced Persons Br, Specfal 
Categories-Enemy Prisoners of War. DEBj TAG. 


The capitulation of Germany on 8 May 1945 placed the sur- 
rendered German forces at the disposal of the Allies. 95 SHAEF 
designated these units as "Disarmed German Forces," according 
to the Instrument of Unconditional Surrender for Germany which 
stated : . . there is no obligation on any of the three Allied Powers 
to declare all or any part of the personnel of the German armed forces 
prisoners of war. . . . Such a decision may or may- not be taken 
depending on the discretion of the respective commander in chief." n 

The German troops thus held were organizationally intact and were 
kept under army group control for labor. They were not transferred 
to the control of the Communications Zone. Meanwhile, the Allies 
were absolved of the responsibility of providing rations, accommoda- 
tions, and medical care which were accorded to enemy prisoners of 
war. SHAEF left the disarmed enemy units under army group con- 
trol to provide labor where it was badly needed, and to permit the Ger- 
mans to sustain themselves from their own resources as far as possi- 
ble. It also lessened transportation problems since it was easier to 
move the reduced scale of necessary maintenance forward than to 
move the surrendered forces to the rear. Also, the presence of these 
forces in the Allied rear areas, was undesirable, as there were no labor 
needs and the surrendered forces would have had to be supported 
entirely from Allied resources. American commanders segregated, 
confined, and treated all SS and other dangerous elements within the 
German Army as prisoners of war. 97 

German Service Units 

All German Army service units were kept intact, under the opera- 
tional control of company grade German officers but under American 
supervision, and were allocated for labor between the field armies and 
the Communications Zone. 93 Initially, ETOUSA would not permit 
German field grade officers to exercise operational control of these 
units, but later used some with special qualifications under conditions 
approved by the commanding general of the U. S. forces concerned. 
Other German field grade officers were used in the internal adminis- 
trative supply of the compounds and to control certain concentration 
areas. German general officers, who were willing to cooperate and 

03 on V-B Day, 4,005,732 German PW's were held l>y SHAEF. Of these, 516,418 were 
captured by 21 Army Group (British) ; 2,608,621 by tho 12th Army Group (Ameri- 
can) aud 876,440 by the 6th Army Group (French and American), An additional three 
million German troops fell into Allied hands at V-B Day. See Fredcrikseu, op cit., p. 86. 

80 WD DIP w/attchd memo for Planning Committee, 27 Oct 44, sub; Status and Em- 
ployment of German Prisoners of War on Collapse of Germany (TS) . CAD 383.6 
(3-23-13) (1). DRB, TAG. 

« Memo, Ch, O&E Sec, SHAEF, to ACof S, G-3, SHAEF, 7 May 45, sub : Disposition 
of Captured German Forces (C). No. 871355 in SHAEF G-3 O&E (vol. I) 383.6 Ger- 
many, Disarmed German Forces. DRB, TAG. 

CM-OUT 23617, SHAEF Fwd to 12th Army Gp, 7 Jun 45. SHAEF AG 383.6-12. 



who volunteered, prepared detailed reports of actions in which they 
participated and engaged in other historical work." 

German units larger than company size were not employed by the 
army groups unless authorized by competent authorities, and they 
were maintained to the maximum extent possible from German re- 
sources. U. S. commanders furnished equipment to the German com- 
panies as far as possible from captured and indigenous stocks, and 
the remainder from American stores. 

The number of available German service units was insufficient to 
meet U. S. labor commitments necessary for redeployment and occu- 
pation; SHAEF, therefore, in June 1945, permitted ETOUSA to 
form new provisional German units, under U. S. TOE, from avail- 
able German PW's who would volunteer for such duty. U. S. Army 
personnel supervised and administered these new units the same as 
the other German units. 100 


German authorities under Allied supervision paid German service 
units, composed of disarmed enemy forces, a monthly payment of 
WeJirsoM (German army currency) in the form of Reichmarks and 
Rentenmarks only. German PW units were paid according to existing 

Work Performed 

German engineer regiments were employed on the construction of 
military bridges over the Danube River and achieved excellent results. 
The U. S. XII Corps kept German signal troops in their area intact 
with equipment, less arras, and worked them on the rehabilitation, 
construction, repair, and operation of signal installations. Other 
U. S. units formed prisoners of war (formerly in combat units) into 
transportation regiments, engineer regiments, service companies, am- 
munition companies, or ordnance units for general labor in their 
locale. 101 Later German units were employed on work connected with 
war operations against Japan after the unconditional surrender of 
Germany and the denunicatiqn by Japan of the Tripartite Pact of 2 

B9 Ltr, ACofS, G-3, SHAEF, to CofS, SHAEF, 19 Jun 45, sub: Tolicy Regarding Em- 
ployment of German Service Units (C). No 871327 in SHAEF G-3 O&K 383.6 Germany, 
Disarmed German Forces, DRB, TAG ; see also CM-OUT 92427, SHAEF Main to 21 Army 
Gp, 1.2th Army Gp, etc., 22 Jim 45 (C). No. 160767 in G-l CALA 383.6/3-18 Employ- 
ment of Enemy Prisoners of War. DRB, TAG ; see also : K. W. Hechler, "The Enemy 
Side of the Hill, The 1945 Background on Interrogation of German Commanders," OCMH, 
Foreign Studies Br. 

100 Hq, Com Z, ETO, Cir 64, 13 May 45, sub: Employment of Prisoners of War. No. 
160772 ill G-l CALA. 383.0/3-18, Employment of Prisoners of War. DRB, TAG ; seo 
also : Ltr, SHAEF to CG, Com Z, ETOUSA, 13 June 45, sub : Formation of Provisional 
Units from German Prisoners of War and Disarmed Forces. SHAEF 1945 AG File 
091.711-1 (Germany), German Service Units, DRB, TAG. 

va Lit Col George Dyer, XII Corps Spearhead of Patton's Third Army (Baton Rouge, 
1947), pp. 456-58. 



September 1940. 102 In addition, other PWs and disarmed personnel 
worked in coal mining, in graves registration, and in military govern- 
ment work. German PWs employed in U. S. military government 
work had to be selected civil servants or persons in the age group of 40 
or over with special professional or business qualifications. They 
retained their PW status and had their movements restricted, espe- 
cially at night and when off duty. The number used in each town 
were limited. 1 * 33 

The use of PWs in coal mines presented a type of contract labor 
in the European theater. In November 1945, the Office of the Quarter- 
master, XXII Corps, agreed to furnish the National Administration, 
West-Bohemian Mining Company of Zbuch, Czechoslovakia, 100 
PWs to work as miners. In turn, the U. S. Army was to get 40 tons 
■of coal daily. 104 

Certain German units, both prisoner of war and disarmed personnel,, 
removed minefields and other dangerous obstacles in accordance with 
the surrender agreement; but in all but a few isolated instances, the 
employment of prisoners of war was in accord with the Geneva PW 
Convention. 105 ETOTJSA prohibited PW employment in the coal 
mining industry if the work was dangerdus and unhealthf ul. It also 
permitted the commander concerned to determine if such employment 
actually violated the Convention, and his decision governed the use 
made of prisoners of war on the project. 

Allied Nationals 

The term "Allied Nationals" had become so general in usage by 
January 1945 as to no longer clearly indicate any specific group of 

102 Memo for Record, OPD, 30 May 45, sub: Effect of Unconditional Surrender of Ger- 
many on Types of Permissible Labor by German Prisoners of War. Case 448 in QPD 
383.6 (sec. VI), Cases 410-451 (S). DRB, TAG. 

™>Ltr, Hq, 12th Army Gp, to Supreme Cmdr, SHAEF Main, 18 Dec 44, sub: German 
Prisoners of War in Military Government; Itr, Supreme Cmdr, SHAEF to CG, 12th Army 
Gp, 14 Mar 45, sub : German Prisoners of War in Military Government. Both in Nos. 
51677 and 51679, SHAEF/65/2849, Displaced Persons Br, Special Categories — Enemy 
FW's. DRB, TAG. 

10 *Ltr, OQM, Hq, XXII Corps, to Nat'I Admin., West-Bohemian Mining Co., Zbuch, 
Czechoslovakia, 5 Nov 45. XXII Corps 383.6, Prisoners of. War. DFRB, TAG. 
1IW Art 7 (B) of the declaration of 5 .Tune at Berlin stated : 

Complete and detailed information concerning mines, minefields and other obstacles 
to movement by land, air and sea safety lanes in connection therewith. All such 
safety lanes will foe kept open and clearly marked. All mines, minefields and other 
dangerous obstacles will be as far as possible rendered safe and all aids to naviga- 
tion -will be reinstated. Unarmed German military and civilian personnel with the 
necessary equipment will be made available and utilized for the above purposes and 
for the removal of mines, minefields and other obstacles as directed by the Allied 

Since this declaration was signed by German army representatives it did not violate the 
provisions of the Geneva PW Convention. See CM-OUT 17309, CG, U. S. Forces, ETO 
Main, to WD, 13 Aug 45. OCS 383.6 (Sec. VIII) (Cases 496-574) (S). DRB, TAG; see 
also: CM-IN 87557, SHAEF Main to 6th Army Gp, 10 May 45 (S). 6th Army Gp AG 
383.6-4 (May), DRB, TAG. 



persons taken by American forces. Therefore, on 13 January the 
theater provost marshal designated that the prisoners of war of the 
following countries would be referred to as "Special Nationals": 
Belgium, France, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Czechoslovakia, Eussia, 
Poland, Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece, and the British Empire. These 
"Special Nationals" were concentrated at designated camps where 
authorized officers of their respective governments visited, with the 
approval of Allied authorities, and screened them to determine which 
were suitable for repatriation or for inclusion into their own military 
forces. Those deemed not suitable were treated as enemy prisoners 
of war. Still others were used in labor units. 106 

Both British and U. S. forces could employ Polish prisoners of war 
for any purpose whatsoever if they had not been selected for en- 
rollment in the armed forces of the Polish Government in exile. 
These units, which consisted of 5 officers and 250 enlisted men, were 
organized and employed under direct control of the Allied technical 
services and were paid according to the Polish Army pay scale. Cer- 
tain Polish officers, who possessed special skills such as engineers and 
chemists, 1 were employed as civilians and were paid according to 
civilian labor regulations- 107 

PW Transfers to Other Governments for Labor 

As early as December 1944, ETOUSA permitted Com Z units to 
loan prisoners of war to municipalities, cities, and other political 
subdivisions for rehabilitation work, but not to private individuals, 
firms, or business enterprises. The borrowing agency agreed to com- 
ply with the Geneva Convention, to provide the necessary guards, 
and to conform with any standing instructions for PW employment. 108 
Before the borrowing agency received the PW's, it had to contract 
with the military for the amount to be paid for the PW labor as re- 
quired by existing instructions. The U. S. military authorities cred- 
ited the PW accounts with the amount stipulated in the instructions 
irrespective of the amount received from the employer. 109 

In 1945 both before and after the end of the European war, SHAEF 
negotiated with certain western nations to turn some U. S.- and 

1C « Ltr, Office of Theater Provost Marshal, Hq, ETOUSA, to CG, Hq, So. Line oJ! Com- 
munications, etc., 13 Jan 45, sub : Screening and Disposition of Persons in Prisoner of 
War Channels. Copy in "History . . . PM, ETOUSA, 1 Oct 1944-8 May 1945," sec. VII 
(sub-sec. 4). 

icTjjtr, SHAEF to Hq, 21 Army Gp, CG, 12th Army Gp, etc., 24 June 45, sub : Payment 
of Polish Personnel Employed by US/British Forces. No. 1051 in 12th Army Gp, AG, 
383.6 Prisoners of War. DRB, TAG. 

i°s Ltr, Hq, Com Z, ETO, to CG, So. Line of Communications, Sec. CO's, etc., 2 Dec 44, 
sub: Prisoner of Wir Labor. SHAEF 383.6 (19), Employment of Prisoners of War. 

™ 9 Ltr, SHAEF to Hq, 21 Army Gp, CG, 12 Army Gp, etc., 10 Mar 45, sub : Employment 
of Prisoners of War. No. 431066 in G-4, SHAEF, Central File, 383.6 Prisoners Of War 
(vol. II) . DRB, TAG. 



British-captured prisoners of war over to their control for agricul- 
ture and rehabilitation work. The United States' commitment was 
to Belgium, France, and Luxembourg. The total to be transferred to 
France was tentatively set at 1,300,000, but only approximately 
700,000 PW's were actually transferred. The French agreed to main- 
tain all PW's according to the standards of the Geneva Convention. 

In late 1945 and again in 1946, the International Red Cross lodged 
strong protests against the treatment of the prisoners of war in 
' French custody. Although France had accepted responsibility, the 
Red Cross still looked on the United States as the capturing power. 
To settle the complaints, American authorities temporarily termi- 
nated the transfers to the French, furnished clothing and equipment 
to the PW's in French hands, and repatriated those who were physi- 
cally unfit for work. Although some further transfers were made, 
they were on a reduced scale. 110 

Repatriation and Discharge 

Feeding and maintaining the large number of prisoners of war and 
disarmed German forces became an acute problem by early summer 
1945. The redeployment of U. S. troops also increased the problem 
of providing guards in the Communications Zone in France. In 
May 1945, Com Z proposed to parole the prisoners, but SHAEF 
would not concur due to possible political repercussions that might 
occur. 111 It was necessary, therefore, to begin a general disbandment 
of German forces at the earliest possible moment. Such disbandment 
had to allow for the Allied forces' labor requirements for construction 
work outside of Germany. 112 

In addition to the agricultural workers, coal miners, and transport 
workers already released on a semiparoled basis, women members of 
the German armed forces, youths under 18 years of age, and all per- 
sons over 50 years of age who were prisoners of war were released out- 
right. But these releases were soon to cease. 113 ' 

On 15 August 1945, for fear that the rate of discharge might ham- 
per fulfillment of the transfer of the 1,800,000 PW's to the French, 
SHAEF directed that further discharges of prisoners of war be 
halted temporarily. It was also recognized that rapid redeployment 
of American troops from the Continent and budget controls com- 

"»Memo, Lt Col H. J. Lemley, Jr, GSC, to Mr. Kenneth D. Jolinso.n, OSA, 2 Oct 47, sub : 
U. S. Captured Prisoners of War turned over to Prance as Rehabilitation Labor. Case 32 
in P&O 383.6 (sec II), Cases 31-48. DEB, TAG. 

CM-OUT 23253, SHAEF Fwd to Com Z, 29 May 45 ; CM-IN 50925, Com Z to SHAEF 
Fwd, 29 May 45. Both in SIIA1SF G-l 383.6/3 Mnemy Prisoners of War (vol. I). DRB, 
TAG. • i 

112 Ltr, ACofS, G^-l, SHAEF, to CofS, 30 May 45, sub: Disbanamcnt of German Armed 
Forces (S). Ibid. 

113 CM-IN 87557, SHAEF Main to 6th Army Gp, 10 May 45 <S). 6th Army Gp AG 
383.6-4 (May). DEB, TAG. 



pelled commanding officers to depend more and more upon German 
prisoners and disarmed personnel to fill urgent labor needs. There- 
fore, until November 1945, it was the theater policy to refuse dis- 
charge of prisoners of war in all doubtful cases and to utilize them 
wherever possible. August saw the peak exploitation of PW labor. 114 

In November, the War Department notified SHAEF that 360,000 
prisoners of war in the United States would be returned to Europe. 
At this time over a million enemy troop's were in U. S. custody on the 
Continent, and the 400,000 PW's already in confinement filled the' 
prison camps to capacity." 5 To provide for the expected influx, 
SHAEF discharged all members of the surrendered enemy forces 
under 18 years of age and over 50 years, except war criminals, security 
threats, and officers with a grade of lieutenant colonel or above. All 
of those released had to be residents , of the U. S. Zone. Unskilled 
workers could be included provided they were not needed and were 
otherwise dischargeable. 110 The repatriation of Italian service units, 
which had begun in August when ample German PW's were available, 
was increased and was to be completed by the end of November. 117 

In November 1945 ; a ruling of the Allied Control Council officially 
settled the question of returning prisoners of war to any of the occu- 
pied zones of Germany. Military and affiliated paramilitary forces 
were to be released except as needed for labor and were to be allowed 
to return to their residences regardless of where located. Criminals, 
members of Waffen-SS, and other poor security risks were to be 
held pending investigation. 113 

In February 1946, a large-scale discharge of prisoners of war and 
members of disarmed enemy forces was ordered. Essential PW labor, 
certain high officers of the armed forces and enlisted men of the 
Waffen-SS who had entered that organization before 1 August 1944 
continued to be detained as prisoners of war. Criminals and those 
suspected of war crimes were discharged, rearrested, and then held as 
civilian internees in war criminal or civilian internment camps. 119 

On 20 March SHAEF outlined a dual policy to satisfy the needs 
of the occupation forces- and to meet the labor requirements of the 
German nation. Since it would be necessary to retain all PW's es- 
sential to specific jobs, SHAEF prescribed a system whereby they 
would be retained on the basis of suitability for the job in hand, atti- 
tude, dependability, and high standard of past work. At the same 

m "Laboi' Services and Industrial Police in- the European Command 1945-50," op tit., 
p. 13 ; see also : Frederiksen, op. cit., p. 53. 
us Frederiksen, op. cit. 3 p. 90. 

116 Memo, Hq, 12th Corps, to 4th Armd Div, 83d Inf Div, etc., 13 Oct 45, sub: Pris. 
oners of War. AG, XII Corps, 383.6, Prisoners of War. DPRB, TAG. 

^ Summary Sheef, Col R. MaeDonald Gray, Exec Spec Gp, G-l, 12 Sep 45, (S). OCS 
383.6 (sec. VIII). DEB, TAG. 

is Frederiksen, op. cit., p. 90. 

™ JUd. 



time, it stated that henceforth the theater policy would be to dispose 
of all theater PW holdings, save those regarded as essential to mili- 
tary labor service requirements. The completion date was set for 
30 June 1946. SHAEF also recognized that some PW's would have 
to be retained beyond the completion date to help meet certain con- 
tracts and projects, but it insisted that all prisoners so retained were 
to be discharged as soon as possible. 120 

During the summer of 1946, USFET directed that PW labor be 
used in liberated areas only when civilian labor was not available. 
It scheduled a complete close-out of PW holdings by 30 June 1947 so 
that trained manpower in a civilian status would be available to help 
increase Ruhr coal production. SHAEF a]so took action to secure 
the return of German PW miners who were working in the mines of 
France and Belgium for employment in occupied Germany. 

By autumn 1946, the theater policy was to employ organized pris- 
oner of war companies only where the mission could not be performed 
by static civilian labor in the area. Major commands used labor su- 
pervision companies and labor service companies only when the mis- 
sion could not be supervised by the using unit or by local civilian labor. 
Of the hundreds of thousands of PW's employed by U. S. forces in 
late 3945, only 31,000 remained as a labor force on 31 December 1946. 121 

Regarding the continued employment of prisoners of war, Gen. 
Joseph T. McISTarney stated : 

Our uupiiblicized policy has been to keep the best qualified and most will- 
ing workers of the PW [sic] held. Many of these have been held for a long 
time while many PW [sic] captured later in the war and not moved from 
Germany have been discharged. As a reward for faithful endeavor we have 
tried to return best units to Germany when they became surplus to our. 
needs in liberated countries if we needed them in Occupied Zone. How- 
ever, most of the best units have not become surplus and are therefore still 
in France. The PW usually understands that he has been kept by the United 
States because he was a good worker even though he has not been so 

In order to release the remaining prisoners and yet retain an effec- 
tive labor force, a single mobile discharge team separated large num- 
bers of PW's in the Continental" Base Section without interrupting 
the work in progress. The Base Section, in turn, rehired them as 
civilian workers. Throughout 1947, the discharges of prisoners of 
war proceeded rapidly and efficiently, and the last American-held 
prisoner of war was released on 30 June 194T. 123 

180 "Labor Services and Industrial Police in the European Command 1945-50," op. tit., 

P. 15. 

1=1 Ibid., p. 17. 

122CM-IN 70T8, CG, USFET, sgd McNarney, to WD, 8 Jul 46 (S) . CAD 383.6, See. II 
(11 Jun 46-31 May 47). DRB, TAG. 

123 "Labor Services and Industrial Police in the European Command 1945-50, " op. at., 
P. 18. 



Evaluation of Prisoner of War Labor 

Perhaps the true value of prisoner of "war labor can best be empha- 
sized by the use of statistics. At the cessation of hostilities with 
Germany, 52 percent of all personnel used by the Quartermaster 
Corps in the Communications Zone, European Theater, were in Italian 
service units (6 percent) or were German prisoners of war (46 per- 
cent) , 12 * A breakdown of the number of PWs used for labor in the 
Communications Zone from 1 October 1944 to 1 May 1945 was as 
follows : 135 

1 Oct 1944 64,525 1 Feb 1945 -_ 165,144 

1 Nov 1.944 93, 765 1 Mat 1945 184, 587 

1 Dec 1944 113, Oil 1 Apr 1945 213, 670 

1 Jan 1945 119,739 1 May 1945 284,697 

By the end of hostilities, TJ. S. forces had in custody approximately 
two million enemy soldiers, of which 750,000 had been formed into 
technical company-size units along semimilitary lines in accordance 
with modified TOE approved by the War Department on a pro- 
visional basis. 1 ' 20 At individual quartermaster bases, prisoners of war 
composed from 66.4 percent to 84.6 percent of the entire labor force 
used in January and February 1945. 

Italian PW service units were also used widely on the Continent as 
well as in the United Kingdom. The strength and disposition of 
Italian units from 31 July 1944 to 31 May 1945 were as follows: 127 



United , Kingdom 


31 Jul 1944 

5, 004 


31 Aug 1944 

0, 830 

« 6, 830 


30 Sept 1944 

6, 829 

a 6, 829 


31 Oct 1941 ... 

6, 823 

- 6, 823 


30 Nov 1944..... 

34, 761 

7, 173 

27, 588 

31 Dec 1944 

36, 091 

6, 912 

29, 179 

31 Jan 1945 - - 

37, 505 

6, 135 

31, 370 

28 Feb 1915. . 

6 35, 862 

b 3, 087 

" 32, 775 

31 Mar 1945 - 

36, 905 

1, 614 

35, 291 

30 Apr 1945 

37, 638 

37, 638 

31 May 1945 . 

' 39, 365 

39, 365 

» Approximately 28,000 Italians, formed into Italian service units,' were, a part of the DRAGOON forces 
which entered Southern France in Ausust, ETOUSA Progress Reports did not include them until No- 

6 Figures from Hq, Com Z. " Military Labor Weekly Bulletin No. 3," 5 Mar 45. 
' Includes 25 Slav Units formed by the, Italians and transferred to ETOUSA. 

1M QM Opns Study 11, 1 Nov 45. 

iss "History . . . PM, ETOUSA, 1 Oct 1944-8 May 1948," pt. VII (sub-sec. 6). 
158 "Labor Services and Industrial Police in the European Command 1945-50," op. ext., 
p. 17. 

"Administrative and Logistical History of the ETO," op. dit.j pt. IX, p. 272. 



The performance of all prisoners of war during 1945 was so satis- 
factory that commanders felt they were no threat to military security. 
PW units organized in the late summer of 1945 operated independently 
of any American unit ; and during the close-out of PW camps in France 
and Belgium, German prisoners, with only a small force of guards and 
non-German supervisors, operated technical service depots. In De- 
cember 1945, individual prisoners of war acted as security guards in- 
side inclosed warehouses and open storage areas in order to reduce 
American personnel. 

The ultimate value of prisoners of war was summed up by the his- 
torian of the Quartermaster Corps when he wrote : "Without the proper 
organization and training of prisoners of war it would have been im- 
possible for the Quartermaster to carry out its mission." 128 

In a letter dated October 1945 Maj. Gen. Carter Bowie Magruder, 
Chief of Staff, Theater Service Forces, European Theater, attested to 
the efficiency of prisoner of war units : 

Although no exact records have been maintained, experience in liberated 
areas has indicated the type units, as laundry companies, bakery companies, 
gas supply companies, service companies, etc., where pure technical skill is 
involved, can produce 100% as efficiently as equivalent TJ. S. type units. In 
type units such as depot supply companies and railhead companies where a 
good part of the work involved distribution and "paper" type operations they 
can produce about 80% as much as comparable TJ. S.-type unit. 123 

During the three years, 1944 to 1947, that prisoners of war were used 
in Europe by United States forces, they filled the manpower needs of 
the Allied forces. German prisoners who comprised the mass of 
enemy personnel used in the European theater, were the most satisfac- 
tory workers and proved to be equal to most American military person- 
nel. The PW's were efficient, reliable, and fairly well-disciplined. 
Counterbalancing the advantages of PW labor were the necessity of 
guarding and close supervision, the limitations imposed by the Geneva 
Convention, and their mediocre performance when used in large 
groups. 130 In general, Italian service units proved less satisfactory 
than any other type of similar labor used in the European theater, 
being rated by American commanders as only approximately one-half ' 
as efficient as a comparable American military unit. 131 

128 "Labor Services and Industrial Police in the European Command 1045-50," op. eit., 
p. 33. 
V s Ibid. 

^QM Opns Study 11, 1 Nov 45, p. 5 ; Periodic Rpt, Trans Br, Opns Div, Off of Chief 
Surgeon',. Hq, ETOUSA, 1 Jan-30 Jua 45, p. 36. Copy in Hist Unit, AMS, OSG ; see also : 
Frederiksep, op. cit., p. 53. 

M^QM Opns Study 11, 1 Nov 45, p. 5. 

338293—55 18 




The European campaign, with respect to prisoner of war labor, can 
be roughly divided into four phases: (1) the staging in England; 
(2) the lodgment area in France; (3) the breakout and pursuit into 
Germany; and (4) the defeat of Germany. In phase one, prisoners 
of war were used to supplement IT. S. service troops staging 
for the invasion. All employment was subject to British security 
restrictions. During phase two, prisoners of war were evacuated to 
England as planned, and few were employed. The breakout and pur- 
suit into Germany, phase three, was characterized by the large number 
of prisoners of war captured and employed. At first, the situation 
was confused due to a lack of proper planning; later PW labor com- 
panies were formed which abetted labor requirements and released 
IT. S. personnel for duty elsewhere. Others were released on parole 
to provide the manpower necessary to set the wheels of German 
economy into motion again. 

With the surrender of Germany in 1945, many German troops were 
placed at the disposal of the Allied armies. SHAEF designated them 
as "Disarmed German Forces," thereby relieving itself of the neces- 
sity of feeding and supporting them. They were employed on the 
same work as were prisoners of war. 

The bulk of prisoner of war employment in Europe by U. S. forces 
did not exceed three years, 1944 to 1947, yet it hastened the successful 
conclusion of the war. Their performance of routine duties enabled 
IT. S. military personnel to be released for combat operations and still 
keep the needed supplies rolling. Without them, the war might have 
been lengthened and a serious strain placed on TJ. S. manpower which 
was essentially needed for other war work. 

Chapter 16 

The Pacific Area and the China-Burma-India Theater 

In comparison with the war in Europe, the Pacific conflict was char- 
acterized by the capture of few prisoners of war. Unlike the German 
or Italian prisoner of war, who had been schooled in the provisions of 
the Geneva Convention, the average J apanese soldier was thoroughly 
indoctrinated to prefer death to surrender. 1 For example, in August 
1943, Australian authorities held only 160 enemy PW's for American 
forces in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA), and TJ. S. forces had 
evacuated only 10 selected PW's to the United States. The Allied 
success on New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago brought only 
a slow increase, from approximately 604 at the end of 1943 to 4,435 
at the beginning of the Philippine campaigns in October 1944, 2 

Since U. S. forces lacked both rear area facilities in Australia and 
the personnel necessary to detain prisoners of war, an agreement was 
reached with the Commonwealth of Australia in September 1942 
whereby the provost marshal, United States Army Forces in Australia 
(USAFTA) , turned all PW's over to the Commonwealth for detention 
and administration. In turn, the United States assumed a propor- 
tionate share of the costs of PW maintenance through reciprocal lend- 
lease and reserved the right of final disposition of the prisoners. 
When it became evident in early 1944 that an invasion of the Philip- 
pines was imminent, the Australian Department of Prisoners of War 
and Internees verbally extended the agreement to include custody 
of all PW's taken by U. S. forces south of 5° N. 3 

Until the recapture of the Philippines, there may have been isolated 
cases where prisoners of war were temporarily employed, but in the 
main U. S. forces evacuated the few captured as rapidly as possible to 
Australia along lines of communication. 4 It was not until the sur- 

i WD MIS, "Intelligence Bulletins," 1943-43. 

a MS, "The Provost Marshal's History, Campaigns of the Pacific, 1941-1947," ch. VI, 
p. 1(C). 8-5.1 CA. OCMH, Gen Ref Off. 

s|W,, pp. 3-4; MS, "Administrative History, Chief Provost Marshal, United States 
Army Forces in the Pacific, 6 April 1945 to 31 December 1946," p 14. 8-5.1. AB V20 CI. 
OCMH, Gen Ref Off. 

* Standing orders for working Japanese PW's in SWPA called for their employment only 
on work connected with the administration and maintenance of the PW camps. However, 
on Guadalcanal a permanent PW cadre was retained to facilitate the shipment of other 
prisoners. These worked as interpreters, cooks, medical corpsmen, gardeners, and carpen- 
ters. See : Ltr, Officer in Charge, Combat Int Ctr, 50 Pacific Force, to CO, Svc Cmd, APO 
709, 29 May 44. AG, USF, New Caledonia, 383. 6 Prisoners of War, Instructions & Misc., 
1942-45. DPRB, TAG ; see also ; Standing Orders for Prisoner of War Camps, Hq, Svc 
Cmd, APO 502, Off of the PW Officer, 6 Jun 43, sec II, pp. 5-6. Mil Police Cmd, 
AFWESPAC, 383.6, Prisoners of War. Bk, 3. DPRB, TAG. 



render of Japan that prisoners of war were widely used for labor in 
the Pacific theaters of operations. 

Elsewhere in the Pacific, prisoners of war, captured by U. S. forces, 
were sent to a processing center in the Hawaiian Islands, and thence 
to interrogation centers and PW camps in the United States. Some 
were kept in the Mariannas, but no large groups were detained in the 
Hawaiian Islands until June 1944 when 1,000 Italian prisoners of war 
were transferred from the continental United States for labor. 5 

During April 1945, a team from the War Department Inspector 
General's Office inspected the PW camps in the Pacific Ocean Areas 
(POA) and made the following report : 

Aside from Italians, there were only 1,229 prisoners of war in the Pacific 
Ocean Areas at the time of this survey. Of these, 1,105 were confined on the 
Island of Oahu ; 1,073 of which were Koreans, 17 were Japanese or Formosans, 
and 15 were civilian internees from several Japanese possessions. The re- 
maining 124 prisoners were on Saipan in a prisoner of war camp, on a 
peculiar status. This camp was established at the request of the State 
Department, with a view to negotiating an exchange of prisoners with the 
Japanese Government However, up until April of this year [1045] Tokyo 
had not seen fit to enter into any agreement for the exchange of these 
prisoners of war." 

The Pacific Ocean Areas Theater 

In December 1943, G-l, War Department, considered sending both 
German and Italian prisoners of war to Hawaii to alleviate the labor 
shortage, but the Secretary of War ruled that only Italian PW's could 
be sent under the granted cobelligerent status. 7 The matter rested 
until June 1944, when, after an appeal by Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richard- 
son, Jr., Commanding General, Central Pacific Area (USAFCPA), 8 
1,000 Italian Fascist prisoners of war were sent to Hawaii. At first 
the War Department contemplated sending cooperative Italian PW 
volunteers to the Islands with the intention of later forming them into 
Italian service units ; but with the adoption of the policy of employing 
Italian service units only in operations directed against Germany, only 
noncooperative Italian Fascist PW's were sent. 9 

The American commander -in Hawaii was also authorized to retain 
incoming Korean prisoners of war for use on Army labor projects. 10 

G "The Provost Marshal's History, Campaigns of the Pacific," op. clt., eh. VI, p. 14; see 
also: MS, "IT. S. Army Forces, Middle Pacific and Predecessor Commands, 7 December 
1941-2 September 1945," History of the Provost Marshal's Office, p. 23. 8-5.6 AA v. 24, 
P t. OCMH. Gen Kef Off; Case 302, OPD 383.6 (sec. X). DKB, TAG. 

"Memo, Maj Gen Virgil L. Peterson, Actg IG, for DCofS, 16 May 45, sub: Prisoner 
of War Contract Labor and Limited Service Personnel, Pacific Ocean Areas. G-l 383,6 
Labor (31 Dec 43). DRB, TAG. 

' Memo, Maj Gen M. G. White for DCofS, 31 Dec 43, sub : Prisoners of War in Ha-waii. 
G-l 383.6 Labor (31 Dec 43), Outside Continental United States. DRB, TAG, 

"TJSAFCPA was later redesignated Army Forces, Middle Pacific (AFMIDPAC). 

» See entire file, OPD 383.6, Hawaii (sec. I) (S). DRB, TAG. 

10 The majority of Korean PW's had been impressed into Japanese service. Formerly 
they had been evacuated to the United States. 



The Koreans were cooperative and willing workers and were allowed 
to work on labor projects outside the PW camps, a privilege resented 
by the few Japanese PW's retained in the Islands. 11 

The Commanding General, AFMIDPAC, prescribed the general 
labor missions for prisoners of war; but the Commanding General, 
Army Port and Service Command, was responsible for the method of 
utilization. The latter authorized PW camp commanders to approve 
requests for prisoner labor. 13 

When the Italian PWs first arrived in the Hawaiian Islands, the 
war was in full progress and security was paramount. Camp com- 
manders appointed guards for PW labor details in the ratio of 1 guard 
for every 10 prisoners. But as Allied advances met with success in 
the Pacific, the guarding of the PW's relaxed to where, near the end 
of hostilities, prisoners at Schofield Barracks worked without guards 
on an honor system. In general, one escort guard company, consisting 
of 3 officers and 135 enlisted men was provided for each 1,000 prisoners. 
Very few prisoners of war escaped. 13 

PW camp commanders divided the prisoners into two categories: 
A (trustworthy) and B (untrustworthy). The majority of Japanese 
PW's were almost completely dominated or influenced by their own 
company and compound leaders in making decisions; thus they were 
considered untrustworthy. All PW compounds were inspected every 
60 days, and a detailed report was made to the responsible headquar- 
ters. This included such items as classification and segregation of 
the prisoners, conditions of the premises, working hours, and types of 
work performed. 

Many Korean and Italian prisoners of war had the tendency to over- 
use sick call. To rectify the situation, PW's who were on sick call 
three or more times in one week and who were returned to duty each 
time were given disciplinary punishment by the PW base camp com- 
mander upon the recommendation of the compound commander. 
Later, when sick call was held in the evening, the problem was solved. 
To combat loafing, camp commanders checked the PW time cards. 
If the prisoner completed 75 percent or less of his assigned work on 
three consecutive days, he was given a physical examination. If he 
was pronounced physically fit, he was given disciplinary punishment. 
Thus with the use of the task system plus adequate supervision and 
guarding, maximum effort was obtained from the prisoners of war. 1 * 

11 "U. S. Army Forces, Middle Pacific rind Predecessor Commands," op. clt., vol. 45, inel. 
91i ; see also : MS, "History- of Central Base Command During World War II," History of 
G-l, See, pp. 5-6. 7-5.7 AA v. 1. OCMH, Gen Ref Off. 

13 Hq, AFMIDPAC, TJnmimbet'od Cir, see. II, sub: Employment of Prisoners of War. 
PW Camp, APO 95, Interrogation Report on Prisoners of War. G-2, POA, Reorganization 
History, Inactivation of Unit. DPRB, TAG. 

13 "U. S. Army Forces, Middle Pacific and Predecessor Commands," op. cit., vol, II, ch. 
IX, p. 27. 

14 MS, "History of PW Base Camp, APO 950, July 1944-December 1946," in History 
of 481st MP's. DPRB, TAG. 



The War Department established a "token" prisoner of war camp 
on Saipan during the summer 1944 which contained 50 Japanese 
prisoners of war and an undetermined number of Korean laborers 
(probably not more than 70) captured in the defense of the island. 
The Koreans, who had been in Japanese labor units, were employed 
while awaiting repatriation and proved to be "willing and efficient la- 
borers." The 50 Japanese prisoners were also employed and worked 
so well that Maj. Gen. Sanderford Jarman, Commanding General, 
Western Pacific Base Command, requested and was authorized an 
additional 200 PW's for labor. By the end of the war, this number 
had increased to 600. 

Based on the experience of the island commander at Saipan, the 
commander at Guam also established a similar PW camp which even- 
tually included 600 prisoners of war. Both the compounds on Saipan 
and on Guam were constructed and operated in accordance with War 
Department TM 19-500. 15 

In the Hawaiian Islands, prisoners of war were employed at army 
and airforce installations on the following types of work : 


Removing barb wire and tank obstacles. 


Laundry work. 

Maintenance of grounds and building's. 

Shop work by blacksmiths, machinists, and mechanics. 

Painting quarters and barracks. 

Disposal of trash and garbage. 

Construction of walks, roadways, curbs, and culverts. 
Construction of volley ball, basketball, paddle, and tennis courts. 
Rodent and mosquito control. 
Supplying KP's and cooks' helpers. 
Painting murals. 

Loading, unloading, baling, packing, crating, segregating, and warehousing 

supplies and merchandise. 
Salvaging material. 
Restoration of real estate property. 
Building stone and coral retaining walls. 

Dismantling barracks. 

Repairing and manufacturing of furniture. 
Nursery work. 

Manufacturing liquid soap and paint remover. 
Hauling, sorting, and stacking lumber. 
Shoe repairing. 

Cement finishing and bricklaying. 

15 Memo for Record, OPD, 27 Aug 44, sub : Establishment of Prisoner of War Camp at 
Saipan <for Jap EM) (S). Case 302 in OPD 383.6 (see. X) (Cases 300-324). DRB, TAG; 
see also: "The Proyost Marshal's History, Campaigns of the Pacific," op. oit., eh. VI, pp. 



Tire changing, vehicle washing, and lubrication. 
Maintenance of boat and marine equipment. 
Manufacturing tile ami bricks. 
Weaving lauhala rugs and mats. 
Furnishing general construction labor. 

All other work incident to the upkeep of posts, camps, and stations, 1. 

'■'■'i. 1 ■a^;»:!:s::!.-ii^!sSJ;::r^-^r..jji., 

"r'M'tf!;!"." ■..■* 


1- rJS!S 

W J> : ; i!;!"j;i:!!!i:|il||||p^ 

' ■' '' — ' •" "*VTm 

Figure 8. Guadalcanal prisoners working in- their garden. 

Japanese prisoners of war in the Hawaiian Islands were largely of low 
caliber and were employed only on work details within their com- 
pounds. Generally the work performed by all the PWs was satis- 
factory, but occasionally small groups became uncooperative for short 
periods of time. In all such cases, local commanders meted out punish- 
ment in strict accordance with the Geneva PW Convention. Disci- 
plining of a prisoner of war by fellow prisoners was not permitted. 

The Southwest Pacific Theater 

On 20 October 1944, the main invasion of the Philippine Islands be- 
gan. Plans had been in the making for some time. Among these was 
the plan for the evacuation of prisoners of war. The task forces were 

19 History of PW Base Camp, AI'O 050, Jul 44-Dec. 46," op. oit.; see : ltr, JtaJ Gen Virgil 
L. Peterson, Aetg IC for Co£S, 16 May 45, sub : Contract Labor and Limited Service Per- 
sonnel, etc. G-l 383.0 Labor (31 Dec 48). DEB, TAG; see also: "U. S. Army Forces, 
M'kldlo Pacific and Predecessor Commands," op. oit,, vol. H, eh, IX, p. 30 and vol. 45, 
IneL 9ft, 



to establish temporary PW stockades where the prisoners were to be 
screened and safeguarded while awaiting evacuation. They were 
then to be transferred to the custody of the Services of Supply, Army 
Forces in the Western Pacific (AFWESPAC), as soon as it estab- 
lished bases. 

As the Allied troops pushed inland, Services of Supply selected 
certain stockades, which had been constructed by the task forces on 
routes of communication and supply and on favorable terrain, as 
permanent PW camps. Other permanent camps were constructed 
where existing housing was unavailable. Owing to moderate cli- 
matic conditions, all construction was of a temporary nature, but the 
camps were equipped with the same sanitation facilities and general 
convenience afforded TJ. S. troop installations. Tentage, mostly of the 
squad type, was used for shelter with prefabricated buildings for ad- 
ministration. But until the surrender of the Japanese forces at Baguio 
on Luzon, very few prisoners of war were received. The total num- 
ber held on 20 August 1945 did not exceed 20,000." 

The Japanese Surrender 

On 2 September 1945, Japan surrendered unconditionally. The 
surrender pact agreed to by the Japanese forces formed the basis for 
retaining certain prisoners of war for labor in places other than Japan. 
The terms were as follows : 

Pending return to Japan, such elements of the Japanese armed forces and 
Japanese controlled armed forces as the designated commander may elect may 
be retained in any areas . , . for such purposes as he may direct, including 
among others, the following : 

a. Destruction of fortifications, military installations, any enemy equip- 

ment ; 

b. Reconstruction and rehabilitation within areas which have been over- 

run or damaged as a result of war ; 

c. Safeguarding and maintenance of Japanese armament and equipment 

pending its final disposal ; 

d. Manning and maintenance of naval and merchant craft and equip- 

ment ; 

e. Explanation and demonstration of research and development proj- 

ects and new or unique items of equipment ; 

f. Repair, operation and maintenance of military transportation of 

communication facilities ; 

g. Removal of mines, minefields, and other obstacles to movement by 

land, sea, and air. 18 

17 "Administrative History, Chief Provost Marshal, United States Armed Forces in the 
Pacific," op. dt., pp. 14-15 (C) ; see also: MS, "Military History of the USASOS in the 
Southwest Pacific, Semi-Annua] Report, U. S. Army Forces Western Pacific, t Jun-3t 
Dec 45," p. 143. 8-5,8 AA, v. 22. OCMTI, Gen Hef Off. , 

18 JCS 1328/5, 10 Sep 45, pp. 21-27 (IS). Piled in Case 8 in P&O 383.6 (see. I) (Cases 
1 thru 20 except case 7) (TS). DEB, TAG. For other instructions, gee: Ltr, Hq, 
USAFWESPAC to CG, Luzon Area Com. (P.), etc., 8 Nov 45, sub: Prisoner of War 
Branch Labor Camps. SCAP Legal Sec, Prisoner of War Policy File. DRB, TAG. 



Classification of the Prisoners 

The unconditional surrender of Japan resulted in a great influx 
of over 260,000 prisoners of war in the Philippines, and new camps 
had to be constructed. As each new camp was built, it was divided 
into segregated areas and compounds to house the various classes of 
prisoners — officers, enlisted men, prisoner-patients, and civilian enemy 
aliens. As soon as these PWs reached base inclosures, they were seg- 
regated, and certain prisoners were designated as leaders of respective 
squads, platoons, companies, and PW camps. 19 Since the PW's were 
required to perform their own housekeeping the leaders were respon- 
sible for the maintenance and cleanliness of quarters of their respective 
units. They also relayed orders and performed other assigned duties. 20 

PW officers were segregated from enlisted men according to the 
Geneva PW Convention, but special privileges as protected personnel 
were not given to any Japanese prisoners of war. Although the Japa- 
nese Government had ratified the International Red Cross Convention, 
it had not given its medical personnel necessary documentary papers. 21 
Nevertheless, those PW's who were found to be medical personnel were 
assigned to care for the Japanese sick and wounded under the direction 
of U. S. medical personnel. But they worked as prisoners of war and 
not as protected personnel. 22 

All. Japanese PW's were divided into two classes after screening- 
processed and categorized. A processed prisoner of war was one who 
had been questioned and found not to be connected with any war 
crime. His name was recorded, a serial number assigned, and he was 
sent to a branch PW labor camp pending repatriation. A categorized 
prisoner of war was one held as a war criminal or as a material wit- 
ness to atrocities committed by members of the Japanese forces. These 
were segregated from the other prisoners, but were eligible for use 
as laborers under adequate security. 23 

The Labor Directive 

To overcome the initial reluctance of some commanders to use pris- 
oner of war labor, Lt. Gen. Wilhelm D. Styer, Commanding General, 
AFWESPAC, ordered maximum utilization. 24 "We must overcome 
the psychology that you cannot do this or that," he said. . . I want 
to see these prisoners work like 'p__ ants'. . . . Get rid of the 
idea that this place was built by heavy equipment. The pyramids and 

« This was done according to the relative rank of the prisoners. 

20 "Administrative History, Chief Provost Marshal, United States Armed Faroes in the 
Pacific," op. cit., Annex 23. 

21 The Convention required medical personnel to be documented. 

s>Ltr, Henry L. Stimson, SW, to Sec of State, 7 Sep 45. Filed in Case 464 OCS S83 t 
(Sec. VIII). (Cases 486-574) (S). DEB, TAG. 

23 Ltr, Hq, USAFWESPAC, to CG, Base X ; CG, Base M ; etc., 1 Doc 45, sab : Prisoner of 
War Branch Labor Camps. SCAr Legal Sec, Prisoner of War Policy File. DKB, TAG. 

«See: "The Provost Marshal's History, Campaigns of the Pacific," op tit ch VI 
pp. 24-25. ' ' 



the Appian Way were built by hand. I can't understand why we can- 
not get some of these people to work. In the States, POW's were con- 
sidered best in work habits followed by civilians and then soldiers. 
If they do not work, put them on bread and water," General Styer 
ordered. 25 

To comply with General Styer's orders, American commanders 
built branch PW labor camps near work area sites to facilitate the 
work and to eliminate excessive transporting of the prisoners. The 
using organization constructed the camp, maintained the standards 
of cleanliness and sanitation, and complied with all provisions of the 
Geneva Convention. An American officer, responsible for PW secu- 
rity, commanded each branch camp. 26 

Two types of labor camps were established. Type 1 branch camp 
consisted of PW working groups approximately the size of an infantry 
company. This group provided its own cooks and housekeeping per- 
sonnel. A minimum number of Japanese noncommissioned officers 
who supervised the camp housekeeping and internal duties and acted 
as overseers on labor projects was assigned to the group. The type 2 
base camp consisted of working groups of 1,000 to 1,500 PW's or more 
located in areas within walking distance of labor projects. This per- 
mitted full and profitable employment of the maximum number avail- 
able. An overhead of only 5 percent of the Japanese PW's could be 
retained within a branch labor camp during normal working hours. 

The base or area command that furnished the PW's controlled and 
administered the branch labor camps. If a branch camp was lo- 
cated outside the area of the supplying base camp, the base camp com- 
mander transferred the prisoners to a base camp within the new com- 
mand concerned. All reports, records, and other administrative mat- 
ters for the branch PW camp were handled by the base camp, unless 
the branch camp worked for agencies not under the jurisdiction of the 
commander of the area or the base camp commander. In this case, the 
PW's were attached to the service that requested them. The service 
was then responsible to the base commander for the security, adminis- 
tration, supply, medical service, and the supervision of the prisoners 
of war. 27 

^Minutes, Conference held in Gen Styer's office, 1 Oct 45, sub: Conference on Employ- 
ment of Prisoners of War. Mil Police Cind, AFWESPAC, 383.6 Prisoners of War, Book 3. 
DPRB, TAG. Present at this conference were Generals Styer, Lester, Woods, Sardevant, 
and Worsham, Lt Col Stacey, and Maj Luszki. 

2(1 "The Provost Marshal's History, Campaigns of the Pacific." ell VI p 24 (C) • see 
also: Ltr, Hq, USAFWESPAC, to CG, Luzon Area Cmd, etc., 8 Nov 45, sub : Prisoner 
of War Branch Labor Camps. SCAP Legal Sec, Prisoners of War Policy File DRB TAG • 
SOP, Hq, TJSAFWESPAC, IT Oct 45, sub: Prisoner of War Work Campst SCAP Legal 
Sec, Prisoner of War Labor. DEB, TAG : Memo 1, Hq, Base X, 3 Nov 45, sub : Prisoner 
of War Labor Camps, w/Incl. Mil Police Com, AFWESPAC, S83.6. Prisoners of War 
Book 2. DPRB, TAG. 

"Admin. Instructions 1, Hq, Base X, 30 Oct 45, sub: Working of Japanese Prisoners 
of War. SCAP Legal See, Prisoner of War Labor. DEB, TAG ; ltr, Hq, USAFWESPAC, to 
CG, Luzon Area Crad, etc., 8 Nov 45, sub: Prisoner of War Branch Labor Camps. SCAP 
Legal Sec, Prisoner of War Policy File. DRB, TAG. 


The base camp furnished administrative personnel to the branch 
PW camps as follows : 28 

Number of prisoners 



Aid men 






















In addition, the base camp furnished a liaison officer to each PW 
labor camp with 500 or more prisoners. He advised the camp com- 
mander on PW affairs, coordinated administrative work connected 
with the prisoners, and reported any continued violations of the 
Geneva PW Convention. In some areas, he also 'coordinated all re- 
quests for prisoner of war labor. 29 

Labor Policies 

To secure prisoners of war for labor, units or services in the Philip- 
pines usually submitted requests 72 hours in advance to the Prisoner 
of War Division, Theater Provost Marshal's Office. When the re- 
quest .was approved, guards (furnished by the using unit) picked up 
the prisoners at the nearest PW branch labor camp. The nature of 
the work project determined the number of guards employed, and 
often a supervisor, who made spot checks, was the only guard used. 
No hard and fast rule governed the type of transportation used in 
moving the Japanese prisoners of war. Initially, vehicular trans- 
portation was not used due to its scarcity; however, the distances 
to some work sites and the hostility of the civilian populace toward 
the Japanese prisoners made it necessary to transport the prisoners 
to the work. 30 

AFWESPAC commanded the using service to obtain maximum 
effort from the prisoners of war. It prescribed a 12-hour labor day 
that included in-transit time and a minimum of 8 hours straight work. 
Rest periods, other than for the midday lunch period, were not per- 
mitted. Night shift work was authorized, but the PW's could not be 
used in excess of 6 consecutive days without a 24-hour rest period. 

There were very few jobs on w T hich prisoners of war could not be 
employed. The policy adopted stipulated that they might be used 

54 SOP, H<3, TJSAFWESFAC, 17 Oct 45, sub: Prisoner of War Work Camps. SCAP 
Legal Sec, Prisoner of War Labor. DRB, TAG. 

2»Ltr, Hq, Base X, for distribution, 21 Nov 45, sub: Prisoner of War Labor. Filed in 
ibid.; see also: Ltr, Hq, AFWESPAC, to CG, Luzon Area Cmct, etc., 8 Nov 45, sub: 
Prisoner of War Branch Labor Camps. SCAP Legal Sec, PW Policy File. DRB, TAG. 

»o "The Provost Marshal's History, Campaigns of the Pacific," op. tit., ch. VI, p. 25 ; see 
also : Memo 24, Hq, Base M, ATWESPAC, 4 Sep 46, sub : Use of Prisoners of War. Misc 
Correspondence, Luzon #2, SCAP. DEB, TAG. 



on the same work on which IT. S. personnel might be employed, pro- 
vided adequate safeguards against injury and health were supplied. 
AFWESPAC, for the security of the prisoners, did prohibit their 
use on the docks in Manila and in other densely populated sections. 
However, it permitted them to be used in the areas immediately behind 
the docks, such as in storage and warehouse areas. 

A theater directive established the following priority of uses for 
prisoner of war labor : 

1. Essential projects at posts, camps, and stations ; 

2. Essential military projects outside of posts, camps, and stations ; 

3. Essential civilian projects ; 

4. Useful but nonessential projects at posts, camps, and stations ; 

5. Useful but nonessential projects outside of posts, camps, and stations ; 

6. Useful but nonessential civilian projects. 31 

Under AFWESPAC regulations, only prisoners of war could be 
employed on paid work. Common PW labor was pjaid 6 cents a day 
(12 centavos) and skilled labor 9 cents a day (18 centavos). 32 The 
latter included the work of PW carpenters, plumbers, vehicular me- 
chanics and painters, artists, foremen, and labor bosses. In some 
cases, certain administrative offices paid PW interpreters and trans- 
lators the skilled labor rate. The labor pay for prisoners of war was 
based npon normal civilian and trade customs in the area. It was 
possible to adopt this rational basis since Japan did not ratify the 
Geneva Convention, and the obligations of the Convention between the 
United States and Japan existed on the mutatis mutandis basis agreed 
upon in 1942. On this basis necessary practical adjustments could be 
made, and nonessential features of the Convention could be modified. 

Adequate supervision was necessary for good work returns. On 
13 December 1945, Maj. Gen. Ewart G. Plank, Commanding General, 
Base X, after inspecting PW labor projects in the Philippines, stated : 

Recent inspections have established indelibly in my mind the considered 
opinion that the American officer and enlisted man in Base X is rapidly 
ruining the demonstrated value of the Japanese Prisoner of War for labor. 
With increasing frequency I now observe Japanese POWs physically at a 
work site but not working. ... I believe all concerned have recognized 
the real value of Japanese labor and I now serve this warning in the most 
emphatic way at my disposal that unless Japanese POW labor is properly 
supervised on the basis of real work in accordance with well-understood and 
clear instructions, retrogression in accomplishment wilt set in and most 
likely will stick. . . . 

Time and again he stressed the element of personal attention in the 
supervision of prisoners of war, and he expected complete and exacting 

31 GHQ t AFPAC, AFP AC Regulations 80-40, 7 May 46, sub : Provost Marshal Prisoners 
of War and Enemy Alien Civilian Intornees, p. 9, Filed in Annex 23 in "Administrative 
History, Chief Provost Marshal, Unitefl States Forces in the Pacific," oy. clt. 

sa Hq, Base X, Admin Memo 1, 3 Nov 45, sub : Prisoner of War Labor Camps. Mil Police 
Cmd, AFWESPAC, 383.6, Prisoners of War, Book 2. DPRB, TAG. 


compliance. Improper supervision on the part of American officers 
and enlisted men was dealt with immediately. 33 Subordinate com- 
mands were instructed that under the terms of the Geneva Conven- 
tion prisoners of war could be compelled to work, and in emergencies 
they were to take advantage of this provision. 

With the redeployment of American troops, AFWESPAC insti- 
tuted a program to make able-bodied prisoners of war more accessible 
to using agencies. To accomplish this, by the end of December 1945 
it established 24 new branch PW labor camps throughout the Philip- 
pine Islands and on Okinawa. 34 With the growing need for labor, 
camp commanders relaxed certain policies governing PW employ- 
ment. For example, at first prisoners of war could not be used to 
prepare or to handle food; but on 8 January 1946 this ruling was 
rescinded, and the prisoners could he used after they were given the 
regular food handler's medical inspection required for United States 
troops. PW camp commanders distributed skilled and unskilled 
workers to the different services according to the needs presented by 
them and the technical services used Japanese PW's in service units 
organized under U.S. tables of organization and equipment. All in 
all, American troops employed approximately 80,000 prisoners of war 
in the Philippines at the peak. 35 

Types of tabor Perfomecf 

In AFWESPAC, the prisoners were employed on both skilled and 
unskilled labor tasks. At a Signal Corps depot, they crated and pack- 
aged signal supplies; segregated stock; worked in warehouses and 
shipping areas ; took inventories of equipment ; and maintained signal 
power generators, motors, and trucks. For the quartermaster, they 
constructed and operated reefers; operated laundries and sawmills; 
loaded creosote poles ; marked surplus property ; and outloaded sup- 
plies. Other prisoners of war handled PX supplies ; worked on com- 
pany trash details; repaired and maintained gas lines; did general 
construction work; worked in salvage yards and in public utilities 
used for the armed forces ; operated Red Cross canteens and PW med- 
ical dispensaries; repaired ships; and operated various pieces of 
mechanical equipment. 36 

33 Ltr, Maj Gen Ewart Q. Plank, Cmdg. T<j, Base X, to CafS, Sections and Services, etc, 
13 Dec 45. Filed in SCAP Legal Br, Prisoner of War Labor. DRB, TAG. 

^Ltr, PM Svc, Base X, USAFWESPAC to CG, Base X, 5 Jan 46, sub : Military History 
of BaseX. OpnUpt, USAFISPA, Off of the PM, Base X (1 Sep 45). DRB, TAG. 

s& "The Provost Marshal's History, Campaigns of the Pacific," op. oit., ch. VI, p. 27. 

s»Ltr, Office of PM, Prison Div (Leyte Detention Center), to CG, AFWESPAC, 6 Aug 
46, sub : Projects in -which Prisoner of War Labor is Utilized; ltr, CO, Hq, 31st Hospital 
Center, to CG, Hq, Base X, 10 Dec 45, sub : Retention of Prisoners of War for Labor ; 
ltr, Hq, Base M, USAFWESPAC, to CG, AFWESPAC, 22 Aug 46, sub : Civilian and Pris- 
oner of War Labor Policies and Procedures. Al! in SCAP Legal Sec, PW Labor. DRB, 


Installation commanders armed certain PW's with clubs and flash- 
lights and used them to police and maintain civilian areas and to 
guard U.S. property. They were most efficient and prevented many 
thefts by local inhabitants. There was no escape hazard as the PW 
preferred the security of the U. S. installation to encounters 
with the Filipinos. Prisoners of war who were incapable of doing 
sustained work, were usually detailed to garden, road, and area main- 
tenance for two or three hours daily.? 7 

Labor troubles also occurred in the Pacific theater. Filipino labor 
unions, which were well established in port areas, objected to the use 
of Japanese PW's at harbor and dock installations, especially at 
Manila, and urged that Philippine nationals be employed instead, To 
satisfy the labor unions, AFWESPAC directed that Japanese PW's 
would not be used on any projects that would tend to displace exist- 
ing Filipino labor. 38 

Repatriation 39 

After the surrender of the Japanese on 2 September 1945, the 
United States planned to repatriate the Japanese prisoners of war to 
their homeland at the earliest possible date. This was based on two 
decisions. The first was, the Potsdam Declaration which stated that 
after being disarmed, prisoners of war would be permitted to return 
to their homes. Second was a War Department ruling that PW's 
would be returned to Japan as promptly as shipping permitted. 40 
Consequently in October 1945, the War Department made arrange- 
ments for the rapid repatriation of all PW's to Japan, Korea, or 
Formosa. From 12 October 1945, when the first prisoner of war was 
shipped to his homeland, to 31 December 1945, more than 90,000 were 
repatriated.* 1 

Pursuant to the governing policy of using able-bodied prisoners 
of war as long as they were available, the majority of the earlier re- 
patriated PW's and internees were physically unfit for labor. The 
Supreme Commander Allied Forces Pacific (SCAP) established 
priority for repatriation in the following order : 

^ Ltr, PM Svc, Base X, "DSAFWESPAC, to CG, Base X, 5 Dec 45, sub : Military History 
Of Base X. Opn Rpt, USAFISPA, Off of PM, Base X, (1 Sep 45). DRB, TAG ; see also : 
"The Provost Marshal's History, Campaigns of the Pacific," op. oit., ch. VI, pp. 24-26. 

38 "The Provost Marshal's History, Campaigns of the Pacific," op. dt., pp. 25-26. 

f° For a detailed discussion on repatriation in the Far East, see: Gen Douglas Mac- 
Arthur's Historical Report on "Allied Operations in Southwest Pacific Area," I (Stippl) ; 
"MacArtbur in Japan, The Occupation," Sep 45 to Dec 48, ehs. V and VI. 8-5 BA VI 
(Supplement). OCMH, Gen Ref Off. 

40 Memo for Record, Lt Col Kunzig, 18 Jun 4e, sub : Retention of Japanese Prisoners of 
War in the Pacific Areas (TS). Filed in Case 8, P&O 383.0 (sec. I) (Cases 1 thru 20 
except case 7) (T8). DRB, TAG. 

n "Military History of the USASOS in the Southwest Pacific, Semi-Anniial Report , . .," 
op. tit.; see also: "The Provost Marshal's History, Campaigns in the Pacific," op. ' clt„ 
ch. VI, p, 27. 



Figure 0. Japanese prisoners in the Philippines. 

a. Sick and wounded ; 

b. Female internees anil children {in cases of families, the male accom- 
panied his family) ; 

c. Male civilians ; 

d. Male military personnel.* 2 

The value and usefulness of Japanese prisoners of war for labor 
became well established, and the redeployment of American troops 
increased the dependency on their continued use. When a shortage of 
American personnel threatened to curtail maintenance and repair of 
essential installations in the Philippines, SCAP suspended repatria- 
tion from 1. January 1046 to 31 March 1946. The commanding gen- 
erals of Army Forces in the Western Pacific, Pacific Air Command, 
U. S. Army, and Army Forces in the Middle Pacific, requested a fur- 
ther retention of the efficient Japanese labor until 1 July 1946. Later 
they submitted an additional request to retain some prisoners until 
January 1947. These commanders considered that a more rapid re- 
patriation would seriously disrupt the processing of excess and surplus 
property, depot operations, base close-outs, and necessary construction. 

Since the U. S. policy required that PW's be returned to Japan as 
promptly as shipping priorities permitted and that retention de- 
pended entirely on the availability of shipping, the Commander in 
Chief, Far East Command, directed that a low priority on shipping 
be assigned when the United States would benefit by delaying the 

" "Thf: Provost Marshal's History, Campaigns of the Pacific," op. tit., cli. VI, pp. 21-28. 



return of the prisoners. In turn, he increased repatriation from the 
Southeast Asia Command. This adjustment in policy was approved 
by the War Department on the basis of military necessity. 43 How- 
ever, on 8 August 1946, SCAP announced plans to return all Japa- 
nese PW's and displaced personnel of the U. S. -con trolled areas by the 
end of the year. This affected some 45,000 in the Philippines, 5,000 
in Hawaii, 7,000 in the Pacific Ocean Areas, and 12,000 in Okinawa. 
These were duly evacuated in three equal increments from each of the 
above areas during October, November, and December. 44 

China-Burma-India Theater 

Very few prisoners of war were captured by American forces in 
the China- Burma-India Theater. Because so few were taken, no 
provision was made for PW enclosures nor for the use of military 
police escort guard companies. Instead, a policy was established 
whereby all prisoners of war taken by American forces (and Chinese 
troops under American command) operating in and from India 
would be turned over to the nearest British headquarters. PW's taken 
in China were to be turned over to the Chinese Government. 45 

Allied forces in the China-Burma-India Theater captured approxi- 
mately 100 prisoners of war. British forces interned them near New 
Delhi, India, where they interrogated them for intelligence purposes. 
They were not used for labor. 46 


Throughout the entire Pacific area, XT. S. forces captured only a few 
prisoners of war before the capitulation of the Japanese Army. Con- 
sequently, prisoner of war employment constituted a very minor detail. 
Before the surrender, American commanders evacuated prisoners of 
war captured south of 5° N. to Australia where the Australian Govern- 
ment assumed charge in return for lend-lease aid from the United 
States. Those captured in the Ghina-Burma-India Theater were 
turned over to the nearest British headquarters. Elsewhere, they were 
evacuated through the Hawaiian Islands to the United States. 

Shortly before the war ended, a few prisoners of war were used 
successfully in the Hawaiian Islands and on Guam and Saipan. With 
the surrender of Japan, however, a large group of cooperative pris- 

« See: Case 8, P&O 3S3.6 (sec. I) (Cases 1 thru 20 except ease 7) (TS). DUB, TAG. 

**Gen Douglas MacArtliur's Historical Report on "Allied Operations in Southwest 
Pacific Area," I (Supp,), p. 158. 

« MS, "History of the China-Burma-India Theater, 21 May 1942 to 25 October 1944," 
Tab— Provost Marshal, p, 14. 8-6.1 AA, v. 2, pt. 2. OCMH, Gen Ref Off ; see also: 
Interview, Maj Gen Vernon Evans, former CofS, CBI Theater, 18 Jul 52. Author's file. 

* Interview, Riley Sunderland, coauthor, Stilwell's Mission to China (Washington 
1953) and Command Problems in OBI.' i9i3-4t. 



oners became available for labor. The bulk of these were employed 
in the Philippine Islands, on Okinawa, and in the Marianas. 

U. S. forces established permanent base and branch labor camps from 
which the using services drew the prisoners for labor purposes. Labor 
problems were few, and the prisoners were most cooperative. The 
labor performed was excellent in quality and greatly assisted in the 
rapid repatriation of American troops and equipment. 

338293—55 19 

Chapter 17 
Summary and Conclusions 

Almost from its inception the United States Army has employed 
captured enemy personnel in times of war. And almost without ex- 
ception the United States Array has entered each war without adequate 
plans for their employment. From the Revolutionary War through 
the War of the Rebellion there was no definite policy for using pris- 
oners of war in productive labor. For the most part, the prisoners 
were used in exchange — to regain men for the military service. Some 
were used for retaliation but this was the exception rather than the 
rule. The Spanish- American War saw the efforts of one commander 
to make plans before battle for the use of the labor of prisoners of war, 
but his suggestions were not accepted. World War I emphasized the 
broadened scope of modern warfare with its large armies and all-out 
industrial mobilization: but above all, it emphasized the fact that in 
modern warfare manpower is at a premium. The United States was 
actually involved in World War I before adequate plans were made for 
prisoner of war employment and for an agency vested with their con- 
trol. Yet despite the experiences learned in this conflict, the agencies 
that would normally be responsible for future PW planning were dis- 
banded when the conflict ended. It was on the eve of involvement in 
World War II that definitive plans were again made for prisoners of 
war and that an agency w T as reactivated for their control. 

The outbreak of World War II caught the United States in the mid- 
dle of feverish planning for enemy aliens and prisoners of war. Only 
general plans had been made between World War I and World War 
II, particularly for prisoner of war employment. The prewar indus- 
trial mobilization plans did not include provisions for their labor, and 
only limited provisions for their internment and use had been included 
in military mobilization plans. The plans had to be developed as the 
war progressed : because of limited guidance, overseas commanders had 
to develop their own policies and procedures to solve the problems con- 
nected with prisoner of war employment. 

At first, a very stringent interpretation of the provisions of the 
Geneva Prisoner of War Convention of 1929 pertaining to prisoner of 
war employment was taken; but as the war progressed and the prac- 




tices of the other belligerents became known, a more liberal interpreta- 
tion was adopted. All provisions protecting the health, safety, and 
welfare of the prisoners were closely followed. 

The World War II prisoner of war labor program provides many 
valuable lessons for future planners : 

1. The success of the program plus the cooperation and productivity 
of the prisoners far outweighed the security risks that had to be taken. 
The "calculated risk" program proved its worth. The employment of 
the prisoners resulted in a conservation of civilian labor and enabled 
military personnel to be transferred to combat units. In paid work on 
military reservations alone, the prisoners performed 90,629,233 man- 
days of labor during the period from early 1943 to 31 December 1945. 1 
Using $4 per day as the average rate of pay for civilian unskilled 
workers on military reservations, it is estimated that in 1943 the pris- 
oner labor performed on military installations had a value of approxi- 
mately $14,000,000. 2 During 1944 when prisoner labor was materially 
expanded at military installations, including the technical service 
depots, the records indicate that the labor performed by the prisoners 
was worth approximately $70,000,000. 3 All in all, the use of prisoners 
of war in lieu of civilians or American soldiers at military establish- 
ments resulted in a government savings of more than $131,000,000 
while the collections from PW contract work netted a total of 
$39,000,000. 4 The net total derived from both military and contract 
employment of prisoners of war has been estimated as high as $230,- 
000,000. 5 This amount cannot be considered as a complete reimburse- 
ment to the United States for the costs involved (housing, food, guards, 
transportation, etc.) from the time of their capture to their release. 
In addition when the prisoners of war and civilian enemy aliens were 
freed in their homelands, they were given $274,771,389.60 in occupation 
currency for pay and allowances. 6 But the labor performed by the 
PW's made a valuable contribution toward the settlement of the costs 

Not only was the use of the prisoners profitable, but they success- 
fully offset the critical manpower shortage. Both agriculture and 
industry suffered initially from a shortage of labor due to the security 
program adopted by the War Department, a program which in time 
proved to be wholly unnecessary. Security violations and sabotage 
failed to materialize 'after the prisoners were more widely used. In 
future planning, steps must be taken to locate small prisoner of war 

1 Prisoner of War Operations, op. clt., PR Supplement, p. 8. 

s No doubt some of this work was for post beautlflcation and for "deluxe" policing, but 
no breakdown between essential and luxury work is available, 
a "History of the PMGO in WW II," op. dt., p. 430! 
* ASF, "Annual Eeport for the Fiscal Year 1945." pp. 55-56. 
B "History of the PMGO in WW II," op. cit., p. 480. 
« DA Master General Ledgers. F & A, Off, C of F. 



camps in areas where labor shortages are most likely to occur, regard- 
less of the apparent risks involved. 

2. The hostility of both civilian and military personnel toward the 
use of PW labor must be overcome in order to achieve maximum 
utilization. During "World War II, as many as 95.6 out of each 100 
prisoners of war worked for private contractors and in military es- 
tablishments with only a minimum of disciplinary problems. 7 Organ- 
ized labor, especially, must be acquainted with the basic fact that in 
time of all-out mobilization all labor, including that of prisoners of 
war, is essential. Provision must be made to avoid the labor disputes 
that arose during World War II over the use of PW labor. 

3. All types of work must be taken into consideration in planning 
for PW employment. Planning before World War II did not con- 
sider the possibility of using captured enemy personnel as contract 
labor even though prisoners of war had been used by private employ- 
ers during World War I. Only the acute shortage of civilian labor 
forced the adoption of this type of employment; consequently, the 
program had to develop as it went along. Despite this, the contract 
employment of the prisoners in the United States proved a beneficial 
wartime expedient. In the period from 1943 through 1945, approxi- 
mately 34 million man-days of work were performed by prisoners 
of war on farms and in industry. The following figures show the 
man- days of prisoner labor in the major fields of contract work : 








20, 882, 852 

5, 047, 867 

4, 229, 588 

4, 058, 878 

1, 466,080 
5, 621, 849 
13, 794, 923 ■ 



1, 247, 812 
3, 800, 055 

1, 253, 064 

2, 976, 524 

771, 694 
3, 287, 184 

Grand total: 34,219, 185 man-days." 

« "History of the PMQO in WW II," op. dt., p. 429; see also; "Prisoner of War Operations," op, cit., p. 6. 

Contract labor constituted slightly over 25 percent of the total pris- 
oner of war labor. The majority of the prisoners were used on mili- 
tary establishments. 

4. Field commanders must be acquainted with the labor possibili- 
ties offered by captured enemy personnel as well as with the limita- 
tions on their use. Detailed employment plans providing for ade- 
quate guards, permissible work, and the scope of work must be made 
in advance. In the event of a sudden collapse of an opposing army, 

7 ASF, "Annual Beport for the Fiscal Tear 194S," pp. 55-56. 



a standard operating procedure for prisoners of war employment or 
for the use of disarmed enemy personnel must be ready to be placed 
into immediate effect, 

5, To best provide for a prisoner of war employment program in 
the event of future hostilities, a comprehensive field manual should 
be provided. This manual should contain the policies and practices 
of World War II and should include improved tables of organization 
and equipment for the formation of prisoner of war labor units both 
at home and in the field. In this way, the labor units could be consid- 
ered as a part of the regular troop basis with regard to mobilization 
assignment and movement. This would reduce the necessity for par- 
allel command channels. Appropriate staff sections could be charged 
with the responsibilties for implementing policies and procedures es- 
tablished in the field manual. 

6. The most important lesson of all to be remembered is that the use 
of prisoners of war during World War II was essential to the wel- 
fare and economy of our nation. U. S. military personnel were re- 
leased for combat duty, and civilians were transferred to essential 
work. Crops vital to the economy of our nation were harvested that 
otherwise would have spoiled, and war industries were able to continue 
operations in the face of the civilian manpower shortage. Both civil 
and military authorities have stated that they could not have per- 
formed their functions except for the use of prisoner of war labor. 

Every consideration must therefore be given to the employment of 
prisoners of war in the event of a future war, especially with a bellig- 
erent who may be numerically superior to our forces. International 
law permits their use, and the interpretation of the Geneva Conven- 
tion of 1949 will depend on the practices adopted by the other nations 
of the world. The use of prisoners of war has proved feasible in the 
past and should prove to be just as effective and profitable in the future 
should hostilities occur again. 

Glossary of Abbreviations 

AAF Army Air Force 

ACof S . Assistant Chief of Staff 

AD SEC Advance Section, Communications Zone 

AEF American Expeditionary Forces 

AFHQ Allied Forces Headquarters North Africa 

AFMIDPAC Army Forces in the Middle Pacific 

AFWESPAC Army Forces in Western Pacific 

AGF Army Ground Forces 

AMET Africa-Middle East Theater 

AH Army Regulation 

ASF Army Service Forces 

AXIS Army of the United States 

British-ITI Service unit formed from Italian army personnel and 

attached to a British unit 

CBI China-Burma-India Theater 

CCC Civilian Conservation Corps 

CG Commanding General 

OIC Counterintelligence Corps 

CINCAFPAC— Commander in Chief, U. S. Army Forces in the Pacific 

Cir Circular 

CM Classified Message 

COBRA Code name for the plan for breaking out of the 

Normandy lodgment along the St. Lo-Periers road 
west of St. Lo 

Com Z . Communications Zone 

COS SAC Code name for the earliest preinvaslon plans of 

France. Derived its name from the title of its com- 
mander— the Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied 
Command (Designate) 

CofS Chief of Staff 

CW Chemical Warfare 

DCof S Deputy Chief of Staff 

D-day Invasion Day 

DF Disposition Form 

Div Division 

DP Displaced Person 

DPRB Demobilized Personnel Records Branch 

DRB Departmental Records Branch 

ETO European Theater of Operations 

ETOUSA European Theater of Operations, United States Army 

FM Field Manual 

G-l Personnel Division of Divisional or Higher Staff 

G-2 Intelligence Division 

G-3 Operations Division 

G-4 - Supply Division 




GHQ General Headquarters 

GO General Order 

Hq Headquarters 

HR House of Representatives 

Incl Inclosure 

ISU Italian Service Unit 

JAG Judge Advocate General 

JPS Joint Staff Planners 

LST Landing Ship, Tank 

MBS Mediterranean Base Section 

MEF British Forces in the Middle East 

MOS * Military Occupation Specialist 

MR Mobilization Regulation 

MS Manuscript 

MTO Mediterranean Theater of Operations 

MTOUSA___^ Mediterranean Theater of Operations, United States 


NASCO North African Service Command 

NATOUSA North African Theater of Operations, United States 


NCO : Noncommissioned Officer 

NEPTUNE Code name for the actual invasion plan of France 

OOMH Office of the Chief of Military History 

OOS Office of the Chief of Staff 

Q1 J D Operations Division, War Department 

Opns Operations 

OSW— Office of the Secretary of War 

OVERLORD Code name for the general concept of the invasion of 


P&A Personnel and Administrative Division 

p&O _. Plans and Operations 

PL Public Law 

PM Provost Marshal 

PMG Provost Marshal General 

PMGO The Office of The Provost Marshal General 

POA Pacific Ocean Areas 

PW* Prisoner of War 

QM__ Quartermaster 

QMG Quartermaster General 

Rpt Report 

Sen Doc Senate Document 

SHAEF Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces 

SO Special Order 

SOP Standard Operating Procedure 

SOS Services of Supply 

Sub Subject 

SW Secretary of War 

SWPA Southwest Pacific Area 

TAG The Adjutant General 

TM Technical Manual 

TO Tables of Organization 

TOE Tables of Organization and Equipment 

TPMG The Provost Marshal General 

TSFET Theater Service Forces, European Command 


UK — United Kingdom 

USA United States Army 

USAF United States Air Force 

USAFCPA— United States Army Forces, Central Pacific Area 

USAFIA United States Army Forces in Australia 

USAFIME United States Army Forces in the Middle East 

USES United States Extension Service 

USFET United States Forces, European Theater 

U.S-ITI Service Unit formed from Italian Army personnel and 

attached to a U, S. unit 

Tj'SMNAM United States Military North African Mission 

USW Under Secretary of War 

V-B Day - 8 May 1945 

V-J Day : 2 September 1945 

WCD War College Division 

WD War Department 

WDAGO War Department Adjutant General's Office 

WDSS War Department Special Staff 

WFA War Foods Administration 

WMO War Manpower Commission 

WPD War Plans Division 

ZI Zone of the Interior 


The bibliography that follows does not include the Department of 
the Army records that comprise the source for much of this study. 
Most of these documents can be found in the Departmental Records 
Branch of The Adjutant General's Office. Other primary source ma- 
terial can be found in the National Archives. An examination of the 
citations will best indicate the principal records and their locations. 

Almon, John A. (ed.). The Remembrancer or Impartial Repository of Public 

Events. London, 1775-84. 17 vols. 
Anburey, Thomas. Travels Through the Interior Parts of America. London, 

1789. 2 vols. 

Bartlett, John Russell (ed.). Records of the State of Rhode Island and Provi- 
dence Plantations in New England, Providence, 1856-65. 10 vols. 

Blakeney, Cresswell G. (Col.). "Logistical History of NATOUSA-MTOUSA, 
30 November 1945." Naples, 1945. 

Blutnenthal, Walter Hart. Women Camp Followers of the American Revolu- 
tion. Philadelphia, 1952. 

Board of War Reports, Series 147, No. 515. 

Bowers, Claude G. The Young Jefferson 1743-1789. Boston, 1945. 

Bowie, Lucy Leigh. "German Prisoners in the American Revolution," Maryland 
Historical Magazine, XL (1945) , 185-200. 

Bowman, Allen. The Morale of the American Revolutionary Army. Washing- 
ton, 1943. 

Browne, William Hand and Others (eds.). "Journal and Correspondence of the 
Council of Safety, 1 January-20 March 1777," Archives of Maryland. Balti- 
more : 1897- . 

Clark, Walter (ed. and comp.). The State Records of North Carolina. Winston, 
Raleigh, Goldsboro, 188&-1907. 26 vols. 

Cole, A. H. Industrial and Commercial Correspondence of Alexander Hamilton 
Anticipating His Report on Manufactures. Chicago, 1928. 

Commager, Henry Steele (ed.). The Blue and the Gray: The Story of the 
Civil War as told by Participants. ' Indianapolis, 1950. 2 vols. 

Corbin, Henry C. and Raphael P. Thian (conips.). Official Records, Legislative 
History of the General Staff of the Army of the United States (Its Organiza- 
tion, Duties, Pay and Allowances) from 1775 to 1901. Washington, 1901. 

Coulter, 15. Merton. The Confederate States of America, 1861-65. Baton Rouge, 

Dandridge, Danske. American Prisoners of the Revolution. Charlottesville, 

Dillon, J. V. "The Genesis of the 1949 Convention Relative to the Treatment of 
Prisoners of War,' ? Miami Law Quarterly, V, No. 1 (December 1950), 51-52, 

Documents Relating to the Revolutionary History of the State of "New Jersey. 
Trenton, 1901-17. 




Dyer, George. XII Corps Spearhead of Ration's Third Army. Baton Rouge, 

Eelking, Max von. The German Allied Troops in the North American War of 
Independence. Translated and abridged by Joseph G. Rosengarten. Albany, 

. (ed,). Memoirs and Letters and Journals of Major General 

Riedesel. Translated by William L. Stone. Albany, 1868. 2 vols. 

Elliott, Charles Winslow. Wvnfield Scott: the Soldier and the Man. New York, 

Fitzpatrick, John C. (ed.). The Writings of George Washington from the Orig- 
inal Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. Washington, 1931^14. 30 vols. 
Flory, William E. Prisoners of War. Washington, 1942. 
Fooks, Herbert C. Prisoners of War. Federalsburg, 1924. 

Force, Peter (comp.). American Archives. Washington, 1837-53. 4th and 5th 
Series. 9 vols. 

Ford, W. C. and Others (eds.). Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774- 

1789. Washington, 1904-37, 34 vols. 
Fortescue, John W. A History of the British Army. London, 1899-1930. 13 


Frederiksen, Oliver J. The American Military Occupation of Germany, 1945-63. 
Heidelberg, 1953. 

HafEner, Gerald O. "The Treatment of Prisoners of War by the Americans 

During the War of Independence." Ph. D. thesis, University of Indiana, 1952. 
Hazard, Samuel and Others (comps.). Pennsylvania Archives. Philadelphia, 

Harrisburg, 1894-1922. 3 vols. 
Hoadly, Charles Jeremy (ed.). The Puolie Records of the State of Connecticut. 

Hartford, 1894-1922, 3 vols. 
Holland, Thomas Erskine. The Laws of War on Land. London, New York, 1908. 
Hopkins, Howard. "Accomplishments of the Timber Production War Project," 

Journal of Forestry, XLIV (1946). 
Hopkins, Luther W. From Bull Run to Appomattow. Baltimore, 1908. 
Hudleston, Francis Josiah. Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne. New York, 1927. 
Hunt, Galliard (ed.). The Writings of James Madison. New York, 1900-10. 9 


Isham, Asa B. and Others. Prisoners of War and Military Prisons. Cincinnati, 

Keith, Arthur Berriedale. Wheaton's International Law. 7th Eng. ed., Lon- 
don, 1944. 2 vols. 
Lee, Charles. The Lee Papers. New York, 1872-75. 4 vols. 
Lieber, Francis. Guerrilla Parties. New York, 1862. 

Lossing, Benson John. The Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution. New York, 
1851-52. 2 vols. 

— — ■ . The Pictorial Field Boole of the War of 1812. New York, 


Lowell, Edward Jackson. The Hessians and the Other German Auxiliaries of 
Great Britain in the Revolutionary War. New York, 1884. 

Lowrie, Walter and Matthew St. Clair Clarke (eds.). American State Papers: 
Documents, Legislative and Executive of the Congress of United States. 
Washington, 1832. 

Malloy, William M. (ed.). Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Proto~ 
eols and Agreements oetween the United States of America and Other Powers. 
Washington, 1910-38. 

Mason, J. B. "German Prisoners of War in the United States." American 
Journal of International Law, XXIV (Apr 45), 199. 



Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings, Cambridge, 1792-1927. 
Military Historical Society of Massachusetts. Civil War and Miscellaneous 
Papers. Boston, 1918. 

Miller, Hunter (ed. ). Treaties and Other International Acts of the United 

States of America. Washington, 1931- 
Miller, John C. Triumph of Freedom, 1775-1783. Boston, 1948. 
Morris, Richard Brandon. Government and Labor in Early America. New 

York, 1940. 

Nelson, Otto Lauren, Jr. National Security and the General Staff. Washington, 

Newcomer, Lee Nathaniel. The Embattled Farmers: A Massachusetts Country- 
side in the American Revolution. New York, 1953. 

Niles, Hezekiah. Miles' Weekly Register. Baltimore, 1811-49. 

Onderdonk, Henry. Revolutionary Incidents of Suffolk and Kings Counties. 
New York, 1849. 

Palmer, W. P. and Others (eds.). Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other 
Manuscripts, 1652-1781, Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond. Richmond, 
1875-93. 11 vols. 

Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on its Activities During 
the Second World War (September 1, 1939-June SO, 1947). Geneva, 1948. 

Hippy, J. Fred. The United States and Mexico. 3d ed., New York, 1931. 

Saffell, William Thomas Roberts. Records of the Revolutionary War. Phila- 
delphia, 1860. 

Sherman, William T. Personal Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman. 3d ed., 

New York, 1890. 2 vols. 
Smith, Justin Harvey. The War with Mexico. New York, 1919. 2 vols. 
Society' of the Army of Santiago de Cuba. The Santiago Campaign. Richmond, 


Sparks, Jared. The Writings of George Washington. Boston, 1834-37. 12 vols. 
Trevelyan, George Otto (Sir)- The American Revolution. London, New York, 
1899-1913. 4 vols. 

. George the Third and Charles Fox, The Conclud- 
ing Part of the American Revolution. London, New York, 1912-14. 2 vols. 
United States Army {or War Department) : 
Annual Reports. 

Army Service Forces. "Statistical Review, World War II." 

"Regulations for the Employment of Prisoners of War, 1918," 28 March 1918. 

"Rales of Land Warfare," 25 April 1914. ■ 

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union 

and Confederate Armies. Washington, 1880-1901. 130 vols. 
"Treaties Governing Land Warfare." Training Manual 27-251. 
United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919. Washington, 1948. 

17 vols. 

United States Army in World War 11 : 

Cheslaw, Irving. "The Quartermaster Corps : Operations in the War 

Against Germany." , 
Howe, George F. "Operations in Northwest Africa, 1942-1943." 
Millett, John D. The Army Service Forces in World War II. Washington, 


Hotter, T. H. Vail. The Middle Bast Theater: The Persian Corridor and Aid 

to Russia. Washington, 1952. 
Pogue, Forrest C. The Supreme Command. Washington, 1954. 
Ruppenthal, Roland G. ■ Logistical Support of the Armies. Washington, 




United States Congress : 

Public Laws, Revised Statutes, and Treaty Series. 
United States Congress, House; 

Executive Documents. 

Hearings on "Military Appropriations Bill." 

"Investigation of the National War Effort, Report on Military Affairs, 21 
November 1944" (78th Cong., 2d sess.) . 
Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1918. 
"Report on the Treatment of Prisoners of War by the Rebel Authorities Dur- 
ing the War of the Rebellion" (40th Cong., 3d sess. ) . 
The Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives Made During 
the Third Session of the Fortieth Congress, 1S69. 
Wharton, Francis (ed.). The Revolutionary Diplomatio Correspondence of The 
United States. Washington, 1889. 6 vols. 


Service Units Utilizing Indigenous and PW Labor in the 
Mediterranean Theater — November 1945* 

Total utilized 

tr. s. 


X V 





PCI (1111 Li 



208, 095 

49, 224 


* '.' f /a 

Chemical Service Co. 4th and 


i , 



524, 000 

5th echelon maint. 

15 Dec 44 

Chemical service unit 1 




524, 000 

15 Dec 44 

Chemical Service Co. (Re- 




923, 000 

ceives stores and issues CW 

15 Dec 44 

equipment in support of 

5,000 to 10,000 troops). 

Chemical Service Co. Decon- 




524, 000 

tamination — 30,000 to 

15 Dec 44 

50,000 troops. 


Engineer Depot Co 



2, 516 

3, 637 

78, 000 

29 Dec 44 

C 1 

Engineer Maint Co 





187, 000 

24 Aug 44 

Engineer General Service Regt- 



7, 634 

7, 600 

273, 000 

1 Apr 42 

C 1, C 2 

Engineer Dump Truck Co 




60, 600 

9 May 44 

C 1, C 2 

Engineer Pet. Dist. Co 





109, 200 

24 Jul 44 


Engineer Forestry Co 

C 1 




546, 000 

4 Feb 44 

C 1 

» Not computed. 

"Source; "Digest of Principal Type Service Units Utilised on Mediterranean Theater of Operations" 
revised Nov 45, 0-4 Sec, MTOUSA. Qeog L Mediterranean 320 {Service Units) Nov 45. OOMH, Gen 
Kef Off, 




Service Units Utilizing Indigenous and PW Labor in the 
Mediterranean Theater — 'November 1945 — Con. 




Total utilized 




per unit 

Engineer Fire Fighting PIat_. 

Medical Base Depot Co 

Medical General Dispensary. 

Medical General Laboratory. 

Malaria Control Det_ 

Malaria Survey Det. 

Medical Service Bn 

AI Mess Det 

BC Supply Det 

Store and issue medical 
supplies 15,000 to 
25,000 troops 

BE Supply Det 

supplies 50j000 to 

100,000 troops 

BK Maint. Det. 3rd 

and 4th 

echelon maint. 100,000 

BL Maint. Det. 5th 

echelon maint 

General Hospital 1,500 Beds.. 

General Hospital 2,000 Beds. 

Station Hospital 150 Beds. 

26 Jul 44 

29 Jan 44 
C 1, C 2, C 3 
18 Jan 45 
1 Col. GB 
18 Jan 45 
1 Col. HA 
18 Jan 45 
1 Col. FA 
18 Jan 45 
1 Col. FB 
18 Jan 45 
C 1 

3 Jul 44 
Col. 5 
C 1, C 2, 
C 3, C 4 
3 Jul 44 
Col. 6 
C 1, C 2, 
C 3, C 4 
28 Oct 44 
Col. 8 
C 1, C 2, 


















1, 707 






23, 000 

136, 500 

50, 000 

546, 000 

54, 600 

546, 000 

5413, 000 



60, 666 

273, 000 

337, 000 



Service Units Utilizing Indigenous and PW Labor in the 
Mediterranean Theater — November 1945 — Con. 

Total utilized 

IT. S. 







per unit 

Station Hospital 250 Beds 




168, 500 

28 Oct 44 

Col. 10 

C 1, C 2, 

C 3, C 4 

Station Hospital 500 Beds 



1 A OO 

1, 423 

32, 000 

28 Oct 44 

Col. 15 

C 1, C 2, 

C 3, C 4 

Station Hospital 750 Beds 




546, 000 

28 Oct 44 

Col. 18 

C 1, C 2, 

C 3, C 4 


Ordnance Depot Co 



1, 373 

91, 000 

1 Jun 43 

Hq & Hq Det, Ord. Bn 




54, 600 

9 Nov 44 

Ord. Med. Auto Maint. Co_ 



1, 898 


60, 600 

19 May 44 

Ord. Evacuation Co 





182, 000 

2 Oct 42 

Ord. Heavy Auto Maint. Co_^ 



2, 713 


109, 200 

27 May 44 

Ord. Med. Maint. Co . 



1, 607 


45, 500 

30 Sep 44 

Ord. Heavy Maint. Co. (FA) . 




69, 300 

3 Jul 43 

C 1 

Hq and Hq Det. Ord. Grp 




182, 000 

15 Apr 44 

Ord. Ammo. Co 

9-17 " 


2, 577 

2, 646 

42, 000 

17 Feb 45 

Ord. Hvy. Maint. Co. (tank),. 




273, 000 

18 May 45 . 

Ord. Maint. Co. (A A) „ 




4 546, 000 

28 Mar 44 

Ord. Base Armament Maint. 



6, 124 


182, 000 


4 May 45 

Hq and Serv Co Ord Base 

9-316 . 


2, 510 


136, 500 

Armament Maint. Bn or 

4 May 45 

Ord Base Auto Maint. Bn 



Service Units Utilizing Indigenous and PW Labor in the 
Mediterranean Theater — November 1945 — Con. 

. — 




Total utilized 

■u. s. 



Ord Base Arm. Ven Mamt. 



Co. Ord Base Armt Maint. 

1 G^T*. A A 

i bep 44 


C 1 

Ord Base Arty and iire Con- 

y — a 1 o 




trol ivlamt. Co, urci isase 

7 AA 

Armt Mamt. Bn 

/ "< -I 

\j 1 

Ord Base Small Arms Mamt. 

fl Olfl 

y— dLw 




Co. Oru rsase Armt Mamt, 

7 Qan AA 


/~f -i 
\j 1 

Ord Base Auto Mamt. Bn 


41 1 

04D 3 UUU 

4 May 45 

C 1 

Ord Base Auto Mamt Co 




07Q nnn 

^^0, UUU 

(Eng Rebuild) Ord Base 

4 May 4o 

Auto Maint Bn. 

C 1 

Ord Base Auto Mamt Co 



dl Q 

O40 f UUU 

(Power Tram Rebuild) , Ord 

4 May 4o 

Base Auto Maint Bn. 

C 1 

Ord Motor Veil Dist Co 




04D, UUU 

10 Aug 44 

C 1 

Ord Tire Repair Co 




n^Vj AAA 

J/o, UUU 

17 May 44 

C 1 

Ord Motor Veh Assembly Co_ 




546, 000 

1/ iviay 44 

C 1 

Ord Base Depot Co 



2, 445 


1 finn 

13 Sep 44 

Ord Ammo Renovation Serv 

o Pino 
y— ouu 





14 Oct 44 

C 1 


Salvage Collection Co.._ 




Zbii, UUU 

21 Jun 45 

Railhead Co 




78, 000 

17 Feb 45 

Depot Supply Co., - 



2, 564 

3, 523 

60, 000 

7 May 45 

Bakery Co 


6/ 2 



84, 000 

6 Oct 44 

Bakery Co (Mobile) Special— 




182, 000 

2 Oct 43 

C 1 

<• Not computed . 



Service Units Utilizing Indigenous end PW Labor in the 
Mediterranean Theater — November 1945 — Con, 

Total utilized 

tr. s. 







per unit 

— ; 

Laundry Co . . 


1, 501 

1, 624 

62, 500 

21 Apr 44 

C 1 

Sterilization and Bath Co 





166, 000 

1 Apr 44 

Refrigeration Co (fixed) 





516, 000 

30 Jul 43 

C 1, C2, C 3 

Salvage Repair Co Mobile 





1 80, 000 

6 Jul 43 

Refrigeration Co Mobile 





250, 000 

25 Feb 44 

C 1 

Fumigation and Bath Co 





250, 000 

30 Sep 43 


C 1, C 2 

Graves Registration Co 

1U— Z\t 1 




6 Nov 43 

C 1, C 2 ■ 

Salvage" Repair Co (fixed) . 

1 0-3 i 7 


■ 2 40fi 


106, 000 

5 Nov 4.3 

C 1 

Hq Co QM Base Depot 





182, 000 

11 Aug 43 


Signal Depot Co . . 





109, 000 

9 Jun 44 
C 1 

Signal Repair Co 





273, 000 

22 May 44 

C 1, C 2 

Signal Heavy Construction 





546, 000 


25 Apr 44 

Signal Hvy Construction Bn 





546, 000 


13 Jan 44 

C 1, C 2 

Signal Operations Co 



273, 000 

19 May 44 

Signal Service Co (wire) 




546, 000 

22 Sep 44 

C 1 

Signal Service Co radio 





546, 000 

22 Sep 44 

'c 1 

Signal Service Co (wire) 




546, 000 

22 Sep 44 

C 1 



Service Units Utilizing Indigenous and PW Labor in the 
Mediterranean Theater — November 1945 — Con. 

Total utiiized 1 . 

u. s.' 








per unit 

Signal Service Co Port 

1 1-500 
92 Spii 44 

J-J Jml tjCIJ J- J- 

C I 



136, 500 

Signal Photographic Plat 





527, 000 

22 Sep 44 
C 1 


Ha and Ha Det OM Bn ( MbD 


3 Mflv 44 

C 1 



24, 000 

OM Trnr-lr Plrt S+nndnTrl 



/ i 4 nnn 

J-^t, UVJU 



fi Tnl dil 

*J LH ^fc 1 

C 1, C 2, 
C 3 

► 4, 950 

1VJL XiLieii -ri-U^Illtillteu.- - - - . _ 


2, 922 



hv Hnl CK 

of TOE 10 - 


10 Jan 45 

IJ V, arir l tin P n p n ,.f /'iVrh^ 

1 l/U 1 

1 Jul 42 

C 1, C 2 



4, 000 

Hq and Hq Det Port Tin 


20 Mar 44 

ZjvJ 1t.1l £LJ. " i 



78, 000 

TC Port Co 



5, 000 

6, 351 

20, 000 


31 Jul 44 

TO Raft* 1 TVnot Co 

22 Mar 44 



546 000 

TC Harbor Craft Co 

17 Alio- 43 
C 1, C 2, 
C 3 


1, 100 

546, 000 

TP Traffic TJooiilntirkp- fin 

24 Sep 44 
C 1, C 2 



273 0(10 

[_J , . , . T-T n f!n T-? dil tut Q 
JQ. U all (.1 I 1 ( > JX elJ.1 Wdi^ 


96, 631 

fl 1* q n M Tl IT 

1 8 Mar 44' 
C 1, C 2 

ixiiiiii wciy an — - , — 

28 Oct 43 
C 1, C. 2 


28, 392 

273 000 

Railway Shop Bn 

4 Oct 43 
C 1, C 2 


14, 716 

546, 000 

Railway Shop Bn, Diesel (less 




546, 000 

Co C) 

18 Apr 42 . 
C-l, C 2